Letter to the Editor: Pray, get involved for city of Selma

Published 8:03 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dear Editor,

Happenings in Selma this summer brought me to an interesting place. I read with eagerness about the grant from the Kellogg Foundation awarded to the Black Belt Community Foundation for Selma to study the causes of racism. Words from Robert Turner, project director, and Ainka Jackson furthered my interest in following this and being a part.

It was encouraging to hear that true racial healing and transformation of our city is the goal, learning and facing the truth of our situations, really talking and listening to each other, seeing the face of God in and, I add hearing God’s heart for each other, so our hearts may be changed and we may work together for lasting change, sustained revival here. Regarding others from a superior place, not empathizing with those in hard places, separating ourselves from each other, playing the victim, are ways of man that have brought us to the place we find ourselves in Selma and the country at large.

Where do we go from here? How can you and I move toward transformation/sustained revival here in Selma? First of all, pray for our city. Monday through Friday, there is a noon service at Christ the King Church on Highland Avenue where prayer for Selma is included. There is also prayer at Gospel Tabernacle at 6:30 a.m. Mondays and Tuesdays. At 7:30-10 a.m. every Tuesday at Blue Jean Selma, there is prayer and discussion about God.

And the Outreach Team Fellowship Prayer Ministry meets the first Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. at various churches. Join in with others lifting voices to the Father for our city. Know what God’s word says about loving Him and loving other people. From Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Saturday, my husband and I attended the anti-racism workshop “Seeing the Face of God in Each Other.” It was a good experience, and filled stated expectations: being offered in the spirit of hope, offering a positive vision of unity that can be had when people of faith work together. We hope this workshop comes back to Selma to train others. Be on the lookout for another session and do try to attend. The facilitators, from Birmingham, said they sensed a seriousness and phenomenal energy in the group attending Saturday, that “we seem to be committed to this place and making it live again.”

Attending the Chat N’ Chews on the first and third Thursdays of the month has been helpful also. These are held at the Coffee Shoppe on Broad Street. I haven’t been to an anti-poverty roundtable discussion yet, but there was one Oct. 17. They meet the third Tuesday of the month. Also, Saturday night, Oct. 21, 6-9 p.m. at By the River Center for the Humanities, there is a potluck where conversation and listening are welcomed. Come and bring a dish to share.  Afriye Wekandodis has these potlucks the third Saturday of each month, and the one on the 21st is joint with the Black Belt Community Foundation and the Selma Center for Nonviolence. Do come and break bread and tell your story and hear others’ stories, all the while building community toward healing our city, bridging divides.

Also, pray for the pastor here in Selma walking the streets, praying, giving out Bibles, and carrying a huge cross. Here is something he said in the report of his last walk. “We must get back to God’s ways. He made us, knows how we function best. He has good plans for us, no matter where we are, no matter why we are where we are. So thankful He didn’t come to condemn us for being where we are, but to save us from where we are. What a blessed redeemer and friend we have.” All I can say is amen to that.  What more is there to say? Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery. This day is what we have and God has given it to us. There are many good things going on in our city. Let us work together in its transformation. There is much to be done. Let us seek to do good to one another this day to the glory of our God.

Gail Box Ingram
Valley Grande