Cincinnati church makes racial reconcilation core mission

by Dennis Coday

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Just saw this very fascinating story on the NPR web site: How A Once-White Church Broke Down Racial Barriers

Fifteen years ago, Peoples Church in Cincinnati was called First Christian Assembly of God and was 98 percent white. After the riots of 2001, Pastor Chris Beard decided to take the church in a new direction. He drafted a mission statement and said the church would focus on racial reconciliation. ...

Beard diversified the staff; he expanded the music to reflect many cultures; he asked his congregation to take a series of classes designed to help break down racial barriers....

Carole Patton, who is black, began attending Peoples Church not long after Beard began his efforts to diversify. It was uncomfortable, Patton says, but she became committed to Beard's vision....

Today, Peoples Church is about 25 percent African American, 25 percent international and 50 percent white. Beard says the process has been a personal challenge.

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