By KATIE EUBANKS
All generations welcome at
Living Reconciled Celebration
On September 24 from 2:30–8:30 p.m., Mission Mississippi will hold its Cultivating Relationships, Living Reconciled Celebration at the Jackson Convention Complex. MCL Editor Katie Eubanks spoke with Mission Mississippi Executive Director Neddie Winters about the upcoming event.
MCL: What is this event about?
Neddie Winters: It’s about building trust, respect, and having truthful dialogue. Trust, respect and truth. We’re really pushing for having these trustful, respectful and truthful relationships.
At 2:30 we’re having a forum for high school and college students. But we really want all the participants to come, because we really want all the generations to come and hear what the students have to say.
Based on the feedback from the student forum, an action plan will be developed. And we’re encouraging the students to get on social media to share their experiences as a participant in that forum.
Later, we’ll have a summit from 4 to 6 p.m. where you can hear a panel discussion and participate in a smaller discussion at your table. Then from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., we’ll have a banquet. And at the end of the banquet, we want people to go to the next room with cocktail tables and have their dessert together and get to know each other.
MCL: What distinguishes this event from Mission Mississippi’s other annual events?
Neddie: This event is specifically designed to celebrate reconciliation, and then we ask people to invest in the work. This is our main fundraiser for the work. But mainly we’re going to celebrate living reconciled.
Our main focus is to kick off Racial Reconciliation Month, which is October. Most municipalities and counties in Mississippi declare October to be Racial Reconciliation Month. During that month, we celebrate our differences.
Our panel discussions will be centered around how to have conversations around race without being adversarial.
MCL: Who should attend?
MCL: Why should people come to this event?
Neddie: The primary reason is to get insights, opportunities to dialogue and opportunities to hear others’ perspectives without being adversarial, learn how to disagree in an agreeable way — and network with folks, find out what’s going on (with racial reconciliation) in other parts of the state, come together as the body of Christ.
This event has been a ‘Mission Mississippi moment’ for folks. People get to know someone of another race — friendships are formed, and even business opportunities. Families are changed. We want to give you tips and strategies on how to live reconciled where you are and how to get something like this started in your hometown. It’s for leaders and regular folks.
We’re excited to get multiple generations together to hear each other’s voices, even if you don’t agree with it, to respect and encourage each other.
It’s a great opportunity for people in the Christian community, or any community, to come together and learn how to (do that).
MCL: Sometimes someone’s age impacts their perspective on race as much as their race does.
Neddie: I think that’s a plus rather than a negative. We have the opportunity to hear multiple generations’ perspectives and strategize how to stop passing this (racial conflict) on to the next generation, and how to break this cycle and reverse this cycle.
People say, “It’s 2019. The next generation doesn’t have the problems we had.” But race is still an issue. It’s just different now. It manifests itself differently. We want to break that cycle. It stops now. Why don’t we just live out the reconciliation we already have (in Christ)?
So the multiple generations’ thing is to bridge that gap and help us heal our pain and get beyond seeing everything in terms of black and white.
I think Mission Mississippi has so much to offer communities, to help the church lead the way in transforming communities. A lot of good things are happening, but a lot of it is in silos. Mission Mississippi has a strategy of bringing everyone together.
John says (in Revelation 7:9), “I saw people from every tribe, tongue and nation standing before the throne.”