For the last chapel of the fall semester, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) hosted a time of prayer and Bible reading for racial understanding and reconciliation.
Friends of Southeastern including students, faculty, staff and local members of the community participated in this special chapel service Dec. 4 in response to the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the choking death of Eric Garner in New York.
Reese Wilson, left, a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, leads a time of prayer during the Dec. 4 chapel service at the seminary. Daniel Akin, SEBTS president, center, bows with Kristal Wilson, who works in the financial aid office and is a former police officer.
Daniel Akin, president of SEBTS, forwent his traditional sermon because he felt it was important to lead the seminary in thinking through present issues facing Americans today.
He quoted 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. “Ours is a broken world and a fractured world. It is a world in desperate need of reconciliation.”
“The most important reconciliation is that which we have with God,” he said. “Apart from reconciliation with God, we will never see reconciliation within ourselves and among ourselves.”
Akin reflected on recent events as “a great tragedy in a fallen, broken world.”
“I am heartbroken at the loss of life, and tragedy of sin and all that it inflicts on everyone,” he said. “Everyone is impacted by these events. It is becoming more evident in these recent days that our nation still has a long way to go when it comes to racial understanding and racial reconciliation and ethic affirmation of one another.”
Akin is convinced that reconciliation will not happen in America until it happens in the church. “It is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Body of Christ, that needs to step up at this particular time and lead the way and show the way forward through the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Walter Strickland, special advisor to the President for Kingdom Diversity and professor of Theology at Southeastern, helped organize the event.
Several seminary and community leaders came together to lead the time of prayer, including: Edgar Aponte, director of Hispanic Leadership Development; Brent Aucoin, associate professor of history and associate dean of The College at Southeastern; Maliek Blade, a student at The College at Southeastern; and Al Fullwood, adjunctive professor of preaching and speech.
Mike Lawson, director of security at SEBTS; Jesse Parker, Th.M. student at Southeastern; James White, pastor at Christ Our King Community Church in Raleigh and executive vice president of organizational relations for the Triangle YMCA; and Reese and Kristal Wilson also participated. Reese is a student at Southeastern, and Kristal works in the financial aid office and is a former police officer.
The annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering was collected for International Mission Board missionaries during the chapel service. Since 1888 when the offering began, over $3.5 billion has been raised to fund missionaries.