Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Trustbuilding in Annapolis“Historically our city and churches have been complicit in the racial divide,” says Rev. Mike Berry, senior pastor of Common Ground Friends, Evangelical Friends Church in Annapolis, MD, who took part in the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship in 2017. Last week, Berry invited Rob Corcoran, author of Trustbuilding: An Honest Conversation on Race, Reconciliation, and Responsibility, and Rev. Sylvester “Tee” Turner, director of reconciliation programs for Initiatives of Change/Hope in the Cities, to speak to an interdenominational group of clergy as part of a series of “sacred conversations on race.” (Photo: Rev. Mike Berry addresses the group)

“Annapolis was one of the first and last slave ports in the country,” says Berry, “and Maryland was first in sowing the seeds of racial division through the 1638 Doctrine of Exclusion and was home to the racist ideology of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney." In 1857, Taney wrote the majority opinion on the case, Dred Scott v Sanford, which found that  “a free negro of the African race , whose ancestors were brought to this country and sold as slaves, is not a ‘citizen’ within the meaning of the constitution of the United States.” Berry believes the churches must “get out front and center” to lead the way for healing and transformation.

Trustbuilding in AnnapolisThe event was hosted by Rev. Bill Chamberlain, senior pastor of Bridge Church, Assemblies of God. Participants included Rev. Steve Tillett, senior pastor of Broadneck-Asbury UMC and president of the Anne Arundel County NAACP, and Rev. Zina Pierre of the Breaking Room Ministry who served as an assistant for intergovernmental affairs in the Clinton administration. As next steps the group plans to do a book study of Trustbuilding and come to Richmond to walk the historic Slave Trail. (Photo: Rev. Turner with Rev. Zina Pierre)