Bridging the differences
Bridge of Peace Community Church, Camden, N.J., connects Fairview and Morgan Village, two neighborhoods with a history of racial segregation and conflict, including such hate crimes as cross-burnings—as recently as the 1990s. Since then “much has changed,” says pastor Wolfgang Herz-Lane. “Our congregation is seen as a symbol of the ‘new’ [neighborhoods]. We draw black, white and Latino people from both sides of the bridge.”
During her high school years, Jessica Fertig's congregation hired an African American pastor."He brought new people to the church every Sunday. But our congregation wasn't ready, so [he] left after two short years and the church was torn apart," she says. Now Fertig, one of perhaps 10 white seminarians at the Lutheran Theological Center in Atlanta, dreams of working in multicultural ministry. "It's helped me grow as a person and a minister, making me more aware of my neighbors' needs and concerns," she says.
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