The Bridge is a new discipleship ministry at Friends Church that was commissioned in June of 2020. While it may appear to have popped up out of nowhere or was a knee-jerk reaction to national events at the time, it was actually many years in the making.
In the Spring of 2018, some of the pastors and members of our congregation attended a local workshop called Mosaix that explored diversity in the church. Later that summer, a group began meeting regularly to study what the Bible teaches about this topic and what it looks like to live out that identity. To share and experience what they’d been studying, the class hosted a Diversity Dinner for about 150 people during our Missions Emphasis week in 2019.
In early 2020, the Diversity class, as it had become known, studied a book called “Be The Bridge – Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation” by Latasha Morrison. As the title suggests, Morrison makes the case that each one of us individually, and the body of Christ collectively, is called to be a bridge. This means that our love for Jesus and our love for our neighbor compel us to actively pursue racial reconciliation.
In late May of 2020, our national attention was drawn to the video footage of the death of George Floyd, which brought renewed focus to the state of race relations both within our country and within the Christian church. Our church leadership, recognizing that the Diversity class had been addressing this issue for years, commissioned a new church ministry to expand their scope and impact. This new ministry was named The Bridge to emphasize that it would be a relational ministry based on personal connections, as inspired by Morrison’s bridge analogy. The pastors and the Elder Board sent a letter to the congregation announcing this new ministry with the purpose “to lead our congregation in grasping a more robust vision of diversity both within our congregation and in the wider community to which we are called.”
Since then, a core team has formulated a vision and mission statement that captures the heart of the ministry. The Sunday class continues to grow as one book study leads to the next. New events are being planned to foster deeper personal connections and propel us on this journey together as we pursue racial reconciliation and justice, overcome deeply rooted barriers and affirm human dignity.