GREENSBORO, N.C. — The death of George Floyd at the hands of police has stirred up conversations at dinner tables, between friends and now at churches.
Wednesday, a group of Greensboro pastors from different churches and backgrounds met to talk about what they can do in their community to work towards racial equity.
“I believe that we have been hiding behind the Bible and using the Bible as not the true word that it should be to propel and allow the situation to be addressed.” Pastor James Fisher, of St. Paul Baptist Church, said.
That’s why they came to Northside Baptist Church to discuss how as community leaders they can do their part to help gain equity for all.
“It’s also to let the white pastors understand how we have been fighting this oppression for so many years,” Fisher said.
White pastors, Black pastors, from different congregations and backgrounds speaking, listening and learning together.
“My background is law enforcement; I was a police officer in Greensboro for 11 years,” Steve Goode, senior pastor at Northside Baptist Church, said.
Pastor Goode said it’s about carrying your neighbor’s burden as your own.
“The Bible tells us, in fact, we are to bare one another’s burdens. It clearly says that. That’s part of what I do,” Goode said. “If I want to be a Biblical friend to my pastor friends here, especially to Dr. Fisher-James, I have to be able to empathize with where he is.”
The goal of these meetings?
“Seeing brother’s eyes open. Seeing them understand us a little bit more,” Fisher said.
Pastors at this discussion said the conversations they’ve had the past two meetings among their pastoral peers are those they hope to translate to their congregation.
While these discussions are vital, the pastors want to ensure something more than just words come out of this.
“We’ve been meeting long enough. I believe the church has been empowered to make some changes and that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Fisher said.
Fisher said, it comes down to understanding why so many Black people are angry.
“If you’ve never been oppressed like I’ve been oppressed, as far as my racial people are concerned, you never can understand my plight,” Fisher said. “You don’t understand my anger. You don’t understand my frustration. You don’t understand none of these things and you’re judging me based off reaction.”
With seven homicide investigations in the first seven days of July in Greensboro, Fisher admits, he understands the ongoing violence in Greensboro creates a barrier to the changes the community is so tirelessly working towards.
“It was just terrifying of all the killings and homicides that took place last weekend, and here we are fighting for rights for us, but that’s not helping us because of what we’re continuing to do,” Fisher said.
He adds that the fight for equity is different than the fight to stop violence in the community.
Pastor Goode, Pastor Fisher and the other pastors that participated said are planning to allow one another to preach sermons at each other’s churches.