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Serving at the Edge

Posted: 6/9/20 at 1:00pm. Written by Amanda Lott.

We serve at the edge, an edge that was created by race-driven annexation begun in the late 1960s; “our side” is Chesterfield County–the other side, literally across the road–is Richmond City. We recognize our unique place in this fight for justice for ALL God’s people.

As protests erupted around the murder of George Floyd, our ministerial staff began asking ourselves what we could do, how we could say out loud to our black brothers and sisters, “We see you. We grieve with you. We love you.” When ForRichmond organized a peaceful march for Richmond’s faith community on Thursday evening, June 4, those of us who were able to, said wholeheartedly, “YES.” We donned our red stoles as a visible symbol of Holy Spirit–a sign that we welcome and seek to embody God’s Spirit in our city’s streets.

Those assembled for the prayer service that began in the median of Monument Avenue, in sight of the Robert E. Lee statue, traveled by foot to join the large Black Lives Matter group that was assembling in Monroe Park. We were astonished by what we saw as we walked to the park: kindness offered freely in the form of bottled water on a hot, humid day; words of deep, long-lasting pain and grief flung on walls and streets and statues; words of encouragement chalked on sidewalks, drawn on poster board, and painted on plywood that boarded up windows; and people, so many people, offering solidarity by their very presence. Arriving at the park was like walking into a sea of turbulent water, feeling the same kind of uncomfortable electricity you feel right before a storm. It was good to feel that turbulence, to be uncomfortable. Change is not always easy or comfortable or welcome, but change is necessary.

We can’t change everything, but we won’t change anything if we don’t let God change us first. Our tentative steps that night were the first of many we’ll make in pursuit of change in us, and our place on the edge.

Amanda Lott is Associate Pastor for Children and Family Ministries at Huguenot Road Baptist Church in North Chesterfield, VA.