By Alan Bean
It is easy to be critical of this Baptist Press story. It reflects a rather superficial understanding of racism, and is written from a distinctly white perspective (there is little interest, for instance, in learning how Black Baptists experienced the racist past of Oxford, Mississippi).
On the other hand, the apology issued by First Baptist Church is commendable and remarkably rare. Although the congregation voted to exclude non-white worshipers in 1968, pastor Hankins correctly observes that most Oxford congregations wouldn’t have felt the need to put the matter to a vote. This is a small step in the direction of racial reconciliation, but it is a beginning, and for that we should all be thankful.
Mississippi church seeks racial reconciliation
OXFORD, Miss. (BP) — When First Baptist Church in Oxford, Miss., passed a resolution apologizing for its 1968 decision to exclude African Americans from worship services, it opened the door for racial reconciliation in its city.
“I had never seen a church or any organization move that seriously toward repentance and then apologize without any excuse,” said Andrew Robinson, pastor of Oxford’s historically black Second Baptist Church, a National Baptist congregation that accepted the apology and granted forgiveness. (more…)