In Gastonia, North Carolina, Three Pastors Open Up About Race in America and in the Church

(John Clark/The Gazette) Alex Vazquez, a member of the congregation, Pastor Wavey Williams, and Pastor Dickie Spargo will speak Sunday about race relations in our community and in our nation at Bethlehem Church in Gastonia.
(John Clark/The Gazette) Alex Vazquez, a member of the congregation, Pastor Wavey Williams, and Pastor Dickie Spargo will speak Sunday about race relations in our community and in our nation at Bethlehem Church in Gastonia.

Fear can stop us from talking about race.

Most of us feel comfortable tackling the subject with people who look like us, says Pastor Dickie Spargo. But it often ends there.

“The fear shouldn’t be there if taking time to build relationships,” he said. “We want to spur people to (have) conversations.”

Pastors this weekend at Bethlehem Church will confront the sometimes uncomfortable topic of race relations.

Four events are planned to address racial differences, similarities and what can be done to unite Americans.

Pastor Wavey Williams, an African-American, and Pastor Dickie Spargo, a Caucasian, will join Latino congregation member Alex Vazquez on stage for the conversations.

It’s not for questions or answers from the audience, but a time to hear what the men have to say about conquering racism and how Christians should react to racial prejudice.

The five events come in the wake of violence and demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., where 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed. The African-American teen was unarmed and shot by a white police officer.

Spargo wants to pray for people in Ferguson, as well as Gaston County residents and all Americans.

Williams said the first step to accepting others of different races is to admit racism exists, then work to make situations better.

“People say they don’t see color, but we know everyone sees color,” he said.

Spargo calls racism sinful and said people’s attitudes need to change. Acceptance of others comes through building relationships, he says.

He plans to share that with this weekend’s congregations, encouraging people to meet someone of a different race and get to know him or her better.

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Source: Gaston Gazette | Wade Allen

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