An interview with Dominique Gilliard
â€œWe must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation. This is tragic. Nobody of honesty can overlook this.â€
~ Dr. King, December 18, 1963 at Western Michigan University
Can you tell us a little bit about your background as someone involved in racial reconciliation work within the church?
I grew up in Atlanta Georgia, in an African American church. During my teenage years I read and reflected upon the Dr. Kingâ€™s above quote. It haunted me, and the more I learned about the racial history of both the church and our nation, I couldnâ€™t escape the implications of Kingâ€™s words. As a teenager, I began attending a multiethnic church and have remained in diverse churches since. The Lord used Kingâ€™s words, my personal experiences, and the racial tensions of our nation to summon me to the ministry of racial reconciliation.
What do you think Christians need to do to foster further reconciliation and healing?
To foster reconciliation and healing within churches and the broader culture, Christians must be humble, repentant, and longsuffering. This process begins by having candid conversations about race, history, and injustice. This will enable us to confront difficult truths and confess Christianityâ€™s role in racismâ€™s legacy. We also have to learn to identify racismâ€™s contemporary manifestations and then renounce and oppose them. To do this, weâ€™ll have to begin distinguishing Americanisms from the gospel, substantiating our faith proclamations through our actions, and exegeting Scripture …