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Rev. Timothy Peoples, pastor of Emerywood Baptist Church in High Point, offers unique perspective on race

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- From moving Confederate monuments to changing the name of the Dixie Classic Fair, hardly a day goes by when we don’t have conversations about race.

And that’s exactly what Rev. Timothy Peoples wants us to do.

He’s the senior pastor at the Emerywood Baptist Church in High Point. It’s a place you wouldn’t expect him to be.

“I’m probably one of the only black pastors of a predominantly white church right now,” he told me during a recent interview.

Just in his late 20s, Peoples was ordained in the theologically-moderate Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. It’s a denomination that withdrew from the Southern Baptist Convention in 1991 over theological differences such as women serving as pastors.

Emerywood Baptist is one of 1,800 CBF churches nationwide.

“I think my theology is one that welcomes everyone and everybody, that we have all been formed and shaped and molded by a God that loves us and has grace for us,” Peoples said.

And while Emerywood welcomes everyone, it’s still not as diverse as many would like. Peoples calls it a sign of the times.

“Whether it’s politics, race, gender, sexuality, we don’t want to be changed or have our eyes open to see something in a different way,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean -- Peoples feels -- we need to stop communicating with those who are different and/or have differing opinions, especially when it comes to race.

He suggests having small group conversations with those who don’t agree with you -- even with close friends and family members. Smaller groups -- he says -- facilitate trust and trust leads to peaceful co-existence.

“And that’s the thing,” he said. “No one’s asking us to believe the same thing or to be the same in everything. But it’s to be able to have difficult conversations to be able to agree and disagree together because once we are able to learn from each other, we can actually be the country that we’re meant to be.”

For more information on Emerywood Baptist Church, click here.

For more information on the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, click here.

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