One Sumter Community, Lutheran churches to facilitate race discussions

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 7/12/18

One Sumter Community group invites Sumterites to engage in discussions about race and religion during a unifying event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, at the University of South Carolina Sumter Nettles Building Auditorium, 200 Miller …

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One Sumter Community, Lutheran churches to facilitate race discussions

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One Sumter Community group invites Sumterites to engage in discussions about race and religion during a unifying event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, at the University of South Carolina Sumter Nettles Building Auditorium, 200 Miller Road.

The purpose of the event, based on what the Lutheran churches in South Carolina have been doing for the past two years, is to bring together people of different backgrounds to have a discussion about race relations facilitated by religion, Marvin Boykin, a member of One Sumter Community Advisory Board, said.

Though the event will be guided by members of the Lutheran church, everyone in the community is invited to participate, he said.

Sumter's local church leaders know about the event and are on board with it, he said. All boundaries will be removed, he said.

During the event, attendees will watch the movie "Selma" which depicts the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders in protest of the continued unfair treatment of blacks after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The movie and the history can move people of any background, Boykin said.

After the film, attendees will discuss the events of the movie over a light lunch, he said.

Leaders of the Lutheran church will be at the event to guide the community through the process, he said.

The Lutheran church has held about 25 events like this across the state, Pastor Leroy Cannon of Christ Mission Lutheran Church in Columbia said. "These events bring mixed groups together."

Cannon said other churches and organizations started asking the Lutheran church community to host these events after the fatal shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston where Dylann Roof, an admitted white supremacist, killed nine black churchgoers on June 17, 2015.

Watching "Selma" is just a starting point, Cannon said.

People reflect on the film and discuss how religion fits into the story and in their own lives, he said.

Members of the community should continue to discuss race relations and other issues, he said.

Along with Cannon, the event will be facilitated by South Carolina Synod Bishop Herman R. Yoos III, leader of the state's member assembly of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

"I believe God is at work renewing the congregations of South Carolina and the world," Yoos said in a news release. "We are called to build significant friendships across all racial and cultural boundaries and to work together for God's justice and peace throughout the world."

Other members of the One Sumter advisory board, who helped organize the event, are former state senator Phil Leventis, Sumter County Clerk of Court Jamie Campbell, University of South Carolina Sumter Director of Admissions Services Keith Britton and Selena Smith, Sumter Fire Department fire prevention specialist.

For more information about the event, call Marvin Boykin at (803) 464-3428.