The Orange County Register covered the story of a mostly white Evangelical and mostly Black church coming together following last year’s racially motivated shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Rev. Mark Whitlock, executive director of the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement and pastor of Christ Our Redeemer in Irvine, preached at the Evangelical church the Sunday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Here’s an excerpt of that story:
When the Rev. Mark Whitlock went up on stage to preach at RockHarbor Church in Mission Viejo, Sharon Genton’s eyes welled up.
“It was the beauty of the moment,” said the Lake Forest resident, who was among about 300 people gathered in the church for the historic occasion.
This was a rare time when a black preacher who leads a predominantly African American church had been invited to preach Sunday morning to a largely Caucasian congregation.
And it happened on the Sunday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“What happened in Charleston gave birth to a new movement,” Whitlock said during the service. “Evil will not win when God is in the room.”
RockHarbor Mission Viejo closed down its services on Sunday, March 6, so that all of its members could visit Christ Our Redeemer with Rev. Chad Halliburton.
Here’s an excerpt from Orange County Register’s story on the church visit:
“My hope is that black churches and white churches come together for the purposes of racial reconciliation,” Whitlock said between services. “Heaven is fully integrated, and it’s time for churches to move away from racial segregation. It’s not purposeful that we are racially segregated, but we must purposefully integrate churches, and we can do it by inviting other churches to come in and worship.”
[Christ Our Redeemer member Corria] Thompson said the service Sunday made her hopeful for just that.
“It gives me hope for a future that looks different than the past,” she said. “I hope more churches choose to come together and not just after tragic events like the shooting in Charleston last year or the KKK rally in Anaheim.”