How Experience in Ferguson Shaped One Pastor’s Commitment to Diversity at Church Plant in St. Louis

Peoples church pastors

A year ago in June, Brandon Wilkes, who was then the executive pastor of Peoples Church in Corryville, moved his wife and three children to St. Louis to start a new church based on the Peoples Church model of racial diversity.

Two months later, he saw firsthand how much St. Louis needed that model, when he found himself in the middle of the racial unrest in the St. Louis suburb of Feguson, where an unarmed African American man was shot and killed by a police officer.

Wilkes, 40, and three other pastor friends decided they wanted to be a positive influence at the demonstrations against the shooting. The night of the first demonstration, Aug. 16, went very well, he said, as the pastors with both protesters and police officers.

“We were not there to take sides,” he said.

The next night, Wilkes met his fellow pastors about 8:45 at a local McDonald’s parking lot. In the street, about 100 people actively protested with signs, while a much larger group watched from parking lots or the sidewalk. Expecting an historical demonstration along the lines of those of the Civil Rights era, many parents had brought their children.

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SOURCE: Kevin Eigelbach

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