The old adage says, “God gave us two ears and one mouth and there is a reason for that.” That message is timely. In our world there is a lot of shouting. There is a lot of talking at each other but precious little talking to each other. Or, to put it another way, if we continually pray for God to bring us together and to give us unity then we also must be willing to do our part, to do the hard work. I believe that in these times that involves the willingness to listen and to learn.
A while back, I’m guessing a couple of years ago, I had the privilege of hearing the Rev. Benjamin Campbell at a UMW General Meeting here at Trinity. He was speaking about his latest book, Richmond’s Unhealed History. The unhealed history is the history of race dating colonial Virginia to modern Richmond. I was, of course, familiar with Ben Campbell and his work through Richmond Hill and Micah but it was the first time I heard him in person. I left with three “take-aways”, three impressions: The first was how little I knew. Coming into that presentation I literally “did not know what I did not know.” The second was how gentle yet compelling Ben was in his presentation. Race can be such a hot button topic, but his was a calming voice. The third was that, despite the impressive attendance at that meeting, I wished he had a wider audience.
Hosting Ben Campbell as our 2020 Dillard Forum speaker, Oct. 11-13 is our contribution to the racial healing of Richmond. Part history lesson, part hope for the future, I believe that we do our part with our willingness to listen and to learn. If we truly do want to come together and be united then surely the first step to is try to understand our neighbor, even if we may not agree with our neighbor. That’s how conversations begin. In 2020 that is no small thing. It’s easy. All you have to do is go to the Church website, trinityumc.net and log on for the livestream Dillard Forum (just like we do for worship). Church, let’s do our part.
P.S. I also would like say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in my “carding” for my 60th birthday. I was truly overwhelmed with over a hundred cards. I very much feel you love and support (although some of you have a wicked sense of humor! I enjoyed it very much!). Thanks again and please know that the love is absolutely mutual. -LL