Racism Erased by Acts of Kindness
Joe McKeever, director of missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans, passed along the following story from his friend Jim Graham in Asheville, North Carolina:
"Yesterday I spoke with a dear cousin who lives in Long Beach, Mississippi. Incredibly, they lived through Camille and in spite of that experience, decided to 'sit this one out.' Obviously we have been apprehensive about her. What a relief to hear her voice and to know she was OK.
"What she told me brought tears of joy to my eyes. She said, 'Jim, Christian groups are all over this area and from places as far as Michigan. They are feeding, clothing, and ministering to people in every conceivable way.'
"For the God-deniers, this black, dark, ugly, mean storm has no bright side. But for those living in the 'light,' God is and will be showing up in so many ways, bringing hope and thankfulness to the lives of many, many people," Graham said.
"A black man from New Orleans said that he had lived his whole life as a racist. He was convinced that white folks were all evil. He has been shown so much love and care since the storm that he says his life has been permanently changed for the better.
"At the end of our emotional conversation, my cousin said, 'Jimmy, all I can say is that our hearts are filled with thanks. Biloxi, Gulfport, Waveland, and most of Long Beach are simply gone. But our hope is not in stuff.'"
McKeever, also a nationally-known cartoonist, has been chronicling his Katrina-related observations and conversations at www.joemckeever.com.
Disaster Relief from Southern Baptists in the North
Harvest Baptist Church, of Hooksett, New Hampshire, with roughly 110 members, gave $10,000 for disaster relief from money they were saving to build a new church to replace their renovated storefront, according to a September 4 report in the Boston Globe.
"It doesn't belong in a (bank) CD. It belongs in Louisiana," said the Rev. Ken Robertson, pastor of Harvest Baptist, according to the report.
"It's an offering for our brothers and sisters. They're hurting," said the Rev. Gordon Robertson, his father. The church also passed the plate for individual donations and asked for volunteers willing to be trained in disaster response by the Baptist Convention of New England.
Boston Globe, September 4
Married at Last
Leonard and Annette fled from New Orleans and sought shelter at Greenwell Springs (Louisiana) Baptist Church. The couple had been living together for some time, but after attending services at Greenwell Springs, they told pastor Dennis Terry they wanted to "make things right" and get married.
There were no silver wedding bells on the impromptu wedding cake, but the creation of this new home is one silver lining in the Gulf Coast tragedy. Another is that Leonard and Annette were the first African American couple ever married in the church's fifty-year history.
Tony Perkins, who is president of the Family Research Council and a member of Greenwell Springs, said, "In the midst of this tragic event, I have hope that our state and nation will forever be changed for the better by the racial reconciliation that is happening through the thousands of acts of compassion that we are witnessing."