First Baptist Church recently coordinated a Civil Rights Pilgrimage, in partnership with Second Baptist Church and Broadway Christian Church. The pilgrimage was from Nov. 9 to Nov. 13 and the group traveled to Memphis, Tenn.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Montgomery, Ala. to visit several historical civil rights sites.
The trip was spawned from a joint discussion series the three congregations held over several months. According to Carol McEntyre, senior pastor at First Baptist Church, this pilgrimage was an opportunity for spiritual growth and transformation.
“I was excited for members of our congregation to cultivate greater knowledge of civil rights issues in our country through this pilgrimage,” McEntyre said. “The opportunity to go on this pilgrimage as a faith group was really special, and I think it added more meaning to everything we learned and discussed.”
The first stop was Memphis, where the group visited the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. The museum not only retells the assassination of the civil rights leader, but also takes a deeper look at civil rights, beginning with an examination of slavery in the United States.
Then, they traveled to Birmingham. There, the group attended Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Praise and Worship Service. The Sixteen Street Baptist Church is a civil rights landmark that was bombed by the KKK in 1963, killing four small girls. Across the street from the church is Kelly Ingram Park, which features sculptures depicting scenes of protestors and police who gathered in the park in the 1960s. The day concluded with a visit to the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum.
The last stop was Montgomery, where many critical civil rights events of the 1950s and 1960s took place. There were five stops that day: The Rosa Parks Museum, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the Civil Rights Memorial, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and the Legacy Museum. Following the long day of touring, the group enjoyed a meal and reflection together.
“I hope that through this pilgrimage, we gained not only a deeper understanding of what our fellow citizens have endured, but also fostered discussions on how our faith community can bring about change for the future,” McEntyre said.
Because of this experience, the three churches have found new meaning in Black History Month, and support efforts to unify their communities through the experiences and knowledge gained in learning about the hardships others have endured.
First Baptist Church is a vibrant community of Christ-followers that has served Columbia for the past 195 years. As a congregation, the members of First Baptist Church strive to live in a manner worthy of the gospel they teach. The church is led by Senior Pastor Carol McEntyre and is located at 1112 E Broadway, Columbia, Missouri 65201. Visit www.fbc-columiba.org for more information.
Second Baptist Church was founded in 1866 and has been a staple in the Columbia community ever since. Led by Pastor Clyde L. Ruffin and First Lady Sheila Ruffin, the Second Baptist Church strives to serve as a house of worship, a community gathering place, and a center for education. The church is located at 407 East Broadway, Columbia MO 65201. For more information about Second Baptist Church, visit www.2ndbc.com or call (573) 449-4703.
Broadway Christian Church was established in Columbia 60 years ago. As a congregation, the church follows the Disciples of Christ beliefs, which they live out in their faith and in their community. Broadway Christian Church is led by Ministers Nick Larson and Terry Overfelt and is located at 2601 West Broadway, Columbia, Missouri 65203. To learn more about Broadway Christian Church, visit www.broadwaychristian.net or call (573) 445-5312.