Memphis congregations pray together in hopes of improving race relations

By Ben Watson - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Two Memphis church congregations, one predominantly white and the other predominantly black, have come up with a unique plan aimed at eliminating the racial mistrust many people still feel in the city.

Every Tuesday, members of the Love of Christ Church in Cordova pray together with members of The Journey Christian Church on Appling Road.

The Love of Christ Church Pastor Dana Key said the goal is to eliminate racism.

"God put it on our hearts to bring racial reconciliation to this city," Key said.  "This has been a divided city for many, many years."

Key is a Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning musician who is working with The Journey Christian Church Pastor Dan Henley to take Memphis to a higher level.

"So what we've done is come together as leadership," Henley said.  "When we blend our churches together it's the most beautiful sight that you want to see."

Besides meeting every Tuesday for prayer, the congregations gather for everything from Sunday worship services to marriage enrichment retreats to Easter egg hunts for the kids.

"We are getting to know each other," Key said.  "There's less suspicion, less fear when we realize how much we have in common."

"It's almost like birthing a baby, we had to go through all of that," Henley said, "a period of something happening on the inside before it eventually appeared on the outside."

The pastors credit Pastor Fred Bennett, founder of Christ the Rock Church, with bringing them together more than a year ago.  They hope the harmony they are experiencing will resonate throughout Memphis.

Both pastors are now trying to share their success with other churches in the hope that more congregations will work together to improve race relations.

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