Jakes, Jackson, Stream Founder Promote Racial Reconciliation
Christian Leaders Gather in Dallas for 'The Reconciled Church: Healing the Racial Divide'
Christian leaders from across the racial and political spectrum gathered January 15 at The Potter’s House in Dallas for a historic summit seeking solutions to our nation’s racial tensions and unity in the Body of Christ.
Hosted by T.D. Jakes, “The Reconciled Church: Healing the Racial Divide” saw leaders like former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young and National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference president Sammy Rodriguez open their hearts, share ideas and pledge continued cooperation. Bishop Harry R. Jackson of Hope Christian Church in suburban Washington, D.C., served as a principle organizer of the event.
James Robison, founder of The Stream, LIFE Outreach International and host of the daily television program LIFE Today, joined Jakes and Jackson in the early work of laying out the vision for the conference. He described the gathering as “one of the most positive I’ve been to in my life.”
The summit explored several steps to heal the nation’s racial divide, from prayer events to marriage programs to criminal justice reform. The pastors differed on what federal policies would prove most effective in encouraging reconciliation and helping the poor flourish. But they expressed a shared commitment to build understanding and spur the Church to lead in the reconciliation process.
As Harry Jackson put it, the hard work of healing begins not at the White House but in God’s House. “The church has been divided into the black dynamic church and the white dynamic church,” Jackson said.
“We need to come together.” Robison echoed Jackson, observing that in the Christian church, “there are no minorities — if any member suffers, we all suffer.”
For Jim Garlow, the pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego, his first step was silence. At an evening prayer and communion service attended by more than 6,000, Garlow revealed that the Holy Spirit had given him a simple instruction: “Don’t speak at the prayer meeting and workshops. Just listen. Listen and learn.”
He concluded with an apology on behalf of white pastors who in the past had not truly heard their black counterparts. Coming off the pulpit, he was greeted by Jakes with a long, tearful hug.
Given the racial, political, economic and geographic mix of pastors and preachers, there was no guarantee the gathering would be harmonious. But Robison said he came away encouraged. “There was no discord,” he said. “There was a holy hunger for what might heal the hurt.”
The Reconciled Church gathering fell on what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 86th birthday. “I believe this summit is a great way to remember a man who was pastor to our nation and to our world,” said King’s daughter Bernice, who attended. “So, Daddy, happy birthday.”
Jackson, who called for the gathering in the wake of the Ferguson rioting, concluded: “We have to understand that hopeless and helpless people do desperate things. We have to understand that people feel like life just isn’t fair. But I am here to tell you that there is hope in the Gospel. We can turn America around.”