The Disciples Summit on Racial Justice will be an opportunity to bring St. Louis-area congregations together to dialogue around issues of racial justice and to equip congregations theologically and emotionally to enter, and sustain, this difficult work.
To help facilitate these efforts, the NBA is contracting with Rev. Dietra Wise Baker, who will serve in a temporary position to coordinate the local organizing of the Disciples Summit on Racial Justice. Baker will manage event communications and logistics, working closely with Rev. Jacque Foster, pastor of Compton Heights Christian Church and co-host of the event.
Baker serves as chaplain and program development manager for Episcopal City Mission; adjunct professor at her alma mater, Eden Theological Seminary; and pastor and planter of Liberation Christian Church in St. Louis. Responding quickly to the Brown shooting, in August 2014 Baker became the clergy caucus co-leader of the Gamaliel Networks’ Metropolitan Congregations United, an organization that resourced clergy and congregations in the early stages of the community responses that emerged following Brown’s death in Ferguson.
“We have to come face to face with the fact that racial injustice is everywhere—in our churches, schools, police departments, and local courts,” says Baker. “We are calling St. Louis-area Disciples to decide how we will work together and be known for mission and ministry around racial justice issues. Right now we are known for our hearts—it’s time to be known for our hands.”
“My prayer is that Disciples will come together as we have not come together before—to hear and support each other and to enter into a new depth of ministry to build an anti-racist community,” says Foster. “In this last year, God has moved us to a new place. I believe this is a moment of critical opportunity for us.”