Posted on : Friday October 1, 2010

By Byron Day, BCM/D President and Pastor of Emmanuel Church, Laurel, Md.

Byron Day, BCM/D President and Pastor of Emmanuel Church, Laurel, Md.

This summer while vacationing on the Florida east coast I had the opportunity to witness on several mornings the dawning of a new day. I was struck by the beauty and majesty of God’s creation as I observed on many mornings the sun rising up over the Atlantic Ocean horizon. The sun lighting up the ocean and the beach was a sight that seemed to give way to the wonderful hopes of a new day.

A new effort is under way in the Maryland/Delaware convention. A group of black and white pastors has come together to work towards racial reconciliation, in order to lay the groundwork for a more effective partnership of Maryland Delaware Baptists reaching the world for Christ. I am delighted to be a part of this group, for I have long prayed for the day when black and white Christian leaders would come to the table to work on issues that have hindered the cause of Christ for so long.

In Southern Baptist life, there continues to be a racial divide between black and white that can no longer be ignored if we are to carry out the Great Commission. Although we realize that differences exist between and among other races and ethnic groups as well, we are convinced that God would have us begin with blacks and whites because of the uniqueness of our historical relationship, which gave birth to today’s issues.

The New Day pastors believe that God has burdened our hearts for such a time as this. The time has come for us to unite in order to more effectively serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His kingdom agenda. Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

If we are to win people to Christ then they must see a genuine love that conquers prejudices and mistrust. It is our hope that as we deal with black/white relational issues our convention will become even stronger. It is also our hope that this New Day focus group will serve as a model for other ethnic groups in the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.

The New Day experience began with a winter retreat at Skycroft with 10 white and 10 black pastors sharing their childhood and adult attitudes and experiences in race relations.

Each was open, honest, and vulnerable. This openness provided a platform of trust that paved the way for sincere dialogue between black and white, which we believe, will tear down the barriers that have hindered our work for the kingdom of God. Moreover, this mountaintop experience was confirmed to all that God was at work among us and that He was in the midst doing something new and great in Maryland and Delaware.

I am prayerful that we would all embrace this New Day effort as we seek to glorify God together. I am convinced that God is doing something greater than we could ever imagine.

“Look among the nations and watch – Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you.” Hab 1:5.