On Saturday, February 25, 2017, concurrent sermons on the campus of Andrews University addressed the #ItIsTimeAU video that took the campus and beyond by storm in recent days.
Dr. Dwight K. Nelson, lead pastor at Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University, scrapped the sermon he had been writing to address white privilege from the pulpit.
"Something happened in this sanctuary on Thursday, and it had God's fingerprints all over it. I've never seen anything like it,” states Nelson, in reference to administration’s official response to the #ItIsTimeAU video during Thursday’s chapel service.
Nelson continued, “There is a pain deep within our faith community and our university campus. It may not be your pain—but until it becomes your business, the pain—plain and simple—cannot and will not be healed. In the school. In the church. In our own hearts.” This statement first appeared in Nelson’s February 22, 2017 church blog post, which he read at the beginning of his sermon.
WATCH: Dwight K. Nelson’s February 25, 2017 sermon.
At the end of the sermon, “connect cards” with next steps the congregation could check were passed out. “I want to reflect and practice the self-sacrificing love of Jesus with all races” and “I recognize I have benefited from White Privilege and want to now seek to extend those privileges to all races” were two of the four options available.
PMC Connect Card image credit: Brianna Moore via Twitter.com
While discussing what white privilege looks like on the Andrews campus, Nelson referenced New Life Fellowship Church:
"We are here in this space, while our friends at New Life, a predominantly African-American worship community on campus, are packed into the seminary chapel, and they're given one shot at that space. One shot. Spilling out into the atrium, wherever they can find space. And here we are, 100 yards away, and we have space to spare."
While Nelson preached to the PMC audience, Chaplain Michael Polite addressed the New Life congregation and why he chose to participate in the #ItIsTimeAU video.
Polite states, “As James Baldwin writes: 'I love America. Therefore, I claim the right to critique it.' I love Andrews. But it is because I love it that I claim the right to critique it. But that does not mean I want to see it destroyed. And none of the students that I was able to walk with this past week desire to see it destroyed.”
WATCH: Chaplain Michael Polite’s February 25, 2017 sermon. (Sermon begins at 24:35.)
Alisa Williams is Spirituality Editor for SpectrumMagazine.org
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