Bishop Larry Brandon of Praise Temple is leading the charge to battle racism in Shreveport-Bossier. He recently took part in a session in Dallas to look for answers. The event, "The Reconciled Church: Healing the Racial Divide," brought 80 ministers together from all over the country.

Bishop Brandon told us about the 7 Bridges to Peace:

  1. Prayer and Reconciliation Events
    Prayer will be perpetually offered to God requesting wisdom and divine aid for the multi-generational fulfillment of the Great Commandment ( John 17:1-26; love and unity) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 18-20). We will have periodic gatherings of Christian interdenominational and multi-ethnic believers to lift up specific prayer points.  This will be accompanied by periodic voluntary engagement in transparent, honest, frank, civil and Godly dialogue; the implementation of plans of action to confront, overcome and resolve destructive views, values, convictions, preferences and practices (like racism, sexism, age-ism, etc.) that divide the Lord’s Church, misrepresent Jesus Christ, defame God’s creation and hinder the fulfillment of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
  2. Education Reform
    Increase access to early educational program prior to kindergarten for children.  Churches can play a major role in offering academic and character building enrichment programs to students in middle and high school. Focus will be on developing core skills in language, reading, and mathematics as well college preparedness.
  3. Civic Engagement
    The meetings would emphasize and educate on the following elements:

    • Christian Citizenship Training
    • Best practices for dealing with citizen and law enforcement rights and issues that threaten to denigrate, deteriorate, debilitate or devastate the highest quality of life for urban residents
    • Engagement in Civic responsibilities: voting, jury service, PTA, etc.
  4. Community Outreach & Service
    Compassionate Outreaches with Christian faith-based interdenominational and multi-ethnic Christian based social services . These are strategic efforts to serve the under-resourced, poverty stricken residents living in economically devastated and financially depressed zones of our urban community. In Greater St. Louis and other parts of the urban world; models include counsel and representation for legal issues, financial assistance, housing education, healthcare programs, employment training, etc.
  5. Marriage and Family
    Programs and services that will help to introduce, rebuild, restore and/or enhance the divine sanctity of life, the discovery of personal and relational identity, purpose and destiny. Navigation into the discovery and the fulfillment of these through seminars, personal and group counseling, youth athletic programs, pro-life services and biblical marriage and family training and development. Mentoring and fatherhood initiatives will be a key component of family development.
  6. Criminal Justice Reform
    Minority engagement with the criminal justice system is at the core of our current tensions. We need strategic involvement with the criminal justice system. This would include training for prison and jail evangelism workers, and regional partnerships for prison aftercare and job creation.
  7. Economic Development
    In addition to personal financial training, credit repair, and benevolence; many other dimensions of economic equipping can be launched from churches. Investment training, schools of business, and specific entrepreneurial training plans can be developed. There are several different models from St. Louis and beyond that will help position the church to encourage “ethical capitalism”.