Some thirty-four years ago I answered the call to serve the churches of the Philadelphia Baptist Association (PBA). I was pleased to leave my home in Cleveland Ohio to staff the community outreach and public witness emphasis of the PBA. The ministry models that have been developed for congregation participation across the years are too many to list. I have enjoyed working alongside you as partners in ministry. All the while I have watched poverty spread and deepen across the city and suburbs. I am often overwhelmed by all of the suffering I have seen in under resourced communities in this metropolitan area. It got to the point that I knew deep in my heart that only a movement, a ground swell of the people of good will, would be strong enough to usher in the changes so desperately needed. I firmly believe that the movement I prayed for is here, even right now!

I hope that our congregations will participate in ushering in the change that is needed in our nation. There is enough work for all or us to use our gifts to turn things around for the benefit of all. Let me encourage you to stand up and be counted among those who find creative solutions. The movement, alive today, finds much of its energy in the insistence for racial justice. People have joined in protest for more than 25 days in succession in every state in the United States and in nations around the world. I recommend this website as a resource: Talking About Race – National Museum of African American History & Culture (Smithsonian)

We have a role to play as followers of Christ and the church must not shrink away from the challenge to help build a more just society. I hope that the church is able to stand alongside others committed to justice and that our presence conveys our solidarity. I hope and pray that we learn how to join with others in a movement that is not necessarily of our making or shaped to fit all of our perspectives. This movement is about civil rights for all, and we don’t get to pick our partners. Follow the Spirit, enter the space, join in the movement for systemic change.


James McJunkin

Philadelphia Baptist Association

June 24, 2020