JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A community conversation about the Black church covered its history, music and meaning.
News4Jax joined the virtual discussion Monday night in conjunction with a new documentary, “The Black Church: This is our Story, This is our Song.”
“The Black church is where I cut my teeth on being a leader,” said the Rev. Lawson Boddie of Shiloh Church. “Those lessons have stayed with me, and I believe have contributed solely to who I am today.”
Moderator Lynn Sherman asked: “Does the Black church have a place in community activism?”
Ben Frazier of the Northside Coalition responded: “Most definitely. Let’s start off with the quote from Amos the prophet. We need to do it until what? Until justice rolls down like water.”
Frazier said the church must return to its active state, fighting for social justice.
“If we ever needed the Lord, Lynn, we need Him now more than ever before,” he said.
Local church and community leaders led the panel discussion offered through WJCT, with questions asked by viewers online. All three panelists agreed the Black church should be involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I personally feel that to ignore Black Lives Matter is to say we were never a part of the Civil Rights movement,” said Bishop Charles Bernard Eichelberger Sr. of Cathedral of Deliverance. “To me, how can you really be a follower of Christ and not care?”
“Yes, Black Lives Matter because Black lives were made in the image of God,” Boddie said. “So, rightfully so, we should support that.”
“The Word says that we must be fishers of men, and that simply means that we’ve got to do a little bit more than feed those fish that are already in the aquarium,” Frazier said. “We have been upset with racial discrimination and law enforcement, Black men being shot down, and we’ve not heard the church stand up and speak out against it. The time is now. This mysterious silence must end.”
February is Black History Month, and News4Jax is celebrating Black culture, elevating the people and stories that thread together our American fabric. They’re stories that often untold, but our goal is to help shed light on communities that are often overlooked.