Predominantly Black Megachurch Partners With White Church To Enhance Racial Reconciliation

By Victor Ochieng

Bishop Joseph Walker III’s Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Pastor Mike Glenn’s Brentwood Baptist Church partnered in an effort to promote racial reconciliation. The two megachurches, both from Tennessee, last Saturday hosted a back-to-school charity event in which they gave out a number of items to school going children. Their intention was to show an example of “what racial reconciliation looks like.”

Some of the items given out during the event dubbed “We’re Better Together” were school supplies and healthcare screenings.

Johnny Stephens, a spokesperson of the Nashville-based Mt. Zion Baptist Church, which has been organizing the event over the past 10 years, said it was the first time they organized one that brought together the two congregations.

“We invited families from every background and community to start the school year off right with free backpacks and health screenings, and get to know and enjoy one another in the process,” Stephens said.

Steve Smith, Brentwood Baptist Church spokesperson, said the two churches came together as a result of the friendship between Pastor Mike Glenn of Brentwood and Bishop Joseph Walker of Mt. Zion Baptist.

“Mike Glenn began following Bishop Walker on social media, and the two found kinship with each other,” Smith said.

“They decided that it was important for the church to be a leader in proactively showing society what racial reconciliation looks like, embracing the fullness of the diverse expressions of God’s creation and exemplifying unity in Christ.”

Speaking about the event, Smith said the Saturday event was “fruitful” and a “successful pilot test for subsequent events.”

Over the past few years, there have been efforts by churches of different denominations to promote racial reconciliation in the United States, a country that has been bedeviled by serious cases of racism. There is the “Racists Anonymous” group, a program that has brought together several different churches. The program has seen more people open up about their backgrounds and the racial challenges they’re facing and what they’re doing to counter them.

Walker, who’s headed Mt. Zion Baptist since 1992, said his church is working in “a special community where people have historically tended to build bridges rather than walls.”

“But Rev. Glenn and I believe we still have many left to build — and we want to do our part,” Walker added. “Our congregations are growing by leaps and bounds. So is this wonderful city. It is our responsibility to grow together and support one another.”