| Program: || Reconcilers Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA |
| Contact(s): || David S. Apple, Pastoral Assistant: (215) 735-7688 |
| Purpose: || To demolish racist stereotypes and promote truth and understanding |
In 1995, a committee of the Tenth Presbyterian Church met for several months to discuss the idea of building a large multi-ethnic church committed to racial reconciliation. These meetings culminated in a conference called, "Racial Reconciliation and Community Development," which sought to examine how race and ethnicity continues to divide communities. The church hoped that the conference would begin the process of transforming individual and corporate attitudes and behavior. Conference participants included clergy from various denominations and congregation members. At the conference, participants made a commitment to minister towards race reconciliation and for continued teaching on the subject of racism and reconciliation. Immediately following the conference, a new ministry, "Reconcilers Fellowship," was created.
As part of the Tenth Presbyterian Church's Adult Bible School curriculum, a member of the pastoral staff teaches a weekly Bible class on the need for radical life changes. The goal of the class is to create a "safe" place for blacks and whites to discuss racism. Reconcilers Fellowship also hosts a monthly Breakfast and Multi-ethnic Dialogue where people with African, Latin, Asian, and Jewish ancestry have helped Anglos and Europeans understand the detrimental effects of racism, such as stereotypes, perceptions and behaviors. This dialogue, as in the Bible School, is a place where Christians of diverse ethnicities can be themselves and confess and repent their sins.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
Reconcilers Fellowship has been a catalyst for bringing diverse peoples together in cross cultural relationships and creating a community for communication, understanding and healing within the Tenth Churches' membership of 1,200 and the city of Philadelphia. Its leaders have helped other churches develop such ministries and have contacted hundreds of churches for that purpose.