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‘Is spaghetti a side dish or a meal?’ and other cultural questions

Pastoral Conversation on Racial Unity to continue August 14, 5:00pm

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (July 30, 2020) – For the third time, five people gathered on the stage at Living Word Church for a Facebook Live conversation about race, faith, and justice. The group included (shown above, from right) Lansing pastors Leroy Childress and Dave Prince, Pastor Thaddeus Searcy who is in the process of moving his church into Lansing, ministry leader Renae Fentress, and Corey Person, a pastor from Chicago Heights.

“I’m just delighted that you are interested and engaged in becoming part of the solution and helping to solve some of the deep problematic racial issues of our day,” said Pastor Dave Prince to the camera at the start of the July 17 session. He explained that one of the purposes of the Pastoral Conversation series is simply to model what honest conversation about a sensitive topic can look like.

The first conversation took place on Friday, June 12, and included Prince, Childress, Fentress, Searcy, and Pastor David Bigsby, from Lansing’s In the Upper Room Ministry. It was a “safe” conversation and provided a basis from which to go deeper.

A second conversation took place on Friday, June 26, and the group felt a little more comfortable sharing personal stories.

The third conversation, on July 16, began with Fentress revealing that cultural differences aren’t necessarily deep issues of values or traditions; sometimes they are simple things like whether you serve spaghetti as a side dish (as many Black families do) or a main meal (as many White families do). Those little things can become points of interest when approached with curiosity rather than judgement.

The group went on to discuss music styles in church services, levels of racism, whether the narrative of being oppressed is helpful, and why it’s difficult for people to embrace social justice causes as well as supporting police.

After an hour of questions, stories, examples, and laughter, Part 3 of Pastoral Conversation on Racial Unity came to a close. The live stream video is still available on Living Word’s Facebook page, along with Parts 1 and 2:

More conversation

The next Pastoral Conversation is scheduled for Friday, August 14, at 5:00pm. Living Word will again host, and the live stream will be available on the Living Word Facebook page as well as the Grace Church Facebook page:

Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.


  1. when I tried to watch them through the link it says I have to wait over 4 minutes for them to begin? Can you explain this?

    • Hi Donna, that is the screen that Living Word begins their videos with for people who are visiting the page to watch live but arrive early. If you hover your mouse over the video, you should see a progress bar at the bottom. You can drag the circle to the right and “fast forward” past the countdown screen.

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