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Be the Bridge’s Sixth Birthday

It is important in this bridge building work to be reminded of the good being done on a local level. So for this episode, guest host Dr. Will Gravely is joined by three women who are leading and reproducing Be the Bridge groups through their local church. Lisa Miller, Beth Yokley, and Rikeesha Phelon share their individual and collective experiences engaged in this work. This look into their connections and conversations from their Be the Bridge groups is hopeful for us all and will be helpful for anyone wanting to begin their own local group. They share the important aspects of creating groups that are psychologically safe spaces for people of color, that see this work as part of discipleship, and that know the cost is worth it.

Mentioned in the Episode:
Become a Recurring Partner of Be the Bridge
Shop the Be the Bridge StoreResources Mentioned:
Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison
Hope Church

Connect with Will:
Dr. Will Gravely:

Connect with Be the Bridge:
Our Website

Connect with Latasha Morrison:

Host & Executive Producer: Latasha Morrison
Senior Producer: Lauren C. Brown
Producer, Editor & Music By: Travon Potts
Transcriber: Sarah Connatser

Not all views expressed in this interview reflect the values and beliefs of Latasha Morrison or the Be the Bridge organization.

The full episode transcript is below.

Narrator 0:19
We believe understanding can move us toward racial healing, racial equity, and racial unity. Latasha Morrison is the founder of Be the Bridge, which is an organization responding to racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. This podcast is an extension of our vision to make sure people are no longer conditioned by a racialized society, but grounded in truth. If you have not hit the subscribe button, please do so now. Without further ado, let’s begin today’s podcast. Oh, and stick around for some important information at the end.

Dr. Will Gravely 0:53
Welcome to our Be the Bridge family. I am your guest host, Dr. Will Gravely, and I have the honor of serving as a board member of Be the Bridge. And I am in place of our amazing founder, Latasha Morrison. And so we are celebrating our six year anniversary and what better way than to get some real life story of transformation and participation on the ground in this incredible work of bridge building. And so we are talking to some incredible women from Hope Church. And we would love to open this up by just getting a picture of how you all connected with Be the Bridge. What did that beginning portion of the story look like?

Lisa Miller 1:36
Sure. In 2016, Latasha spoke it IF:Gathering and we were in attendance. And it stirred me. For the previous year, I had been struggling with lots of feelings and thoughts. I grew up in Ferguson, Missouri. And so when Michael Brown was murdered in August of 2014, things stirred inside me. I didn’t understand. Right? Like I was, I doubted it. This isn’t where I grew up. Right? I kept repeating that. I know I even put it on Facebook. This isn’t true. This is not where I grew up. And I like, rebelled like that for quite a while. And then God kept whispering to me, and I finally heard him, and it said, “Hey, maybe that’s the point, Lisa. Maybe that isn’t where you grew up.” And so that really confused me more. And I kind of pushed that out of my mind for a while. And then when I heard Latasha speak in March of 2016, it opened it up. And it made me understand that I needed to understand that. I needed to understand why that was different for me growing up in Ferguson than my peers of color that were not in the same spaces as me. And so it really stirred me. And so I ran out of that session, right, and talked to Beth and said, “Hey, we need to do something. We’ve been talking about how do we build our outreach in our community,” I said, “We need to start somewhere else. We need to start digging in first.” And so that’s kind of how we got that brought to Hope is through that IF:Gathering speaking engagement.

Dr. Will Gravely 3:23
Wow, that’s powerful. So you connected, as many have, with Latasha at the IF:Gathering. But then something stirred in you, even with his personal experience in Ferguson, right, this connection of where you grew up and recognizing that, “No, something wasn’t quite right. This isn’t the place I’ve known.”

Lisa Miller 3:40

Dr. Will Gravely 3:41
So we got that initial connection. And then we now hear of Beth and Hope Church, and how did this incredible work, this desire, this passion to see God’s kingdom and racial justice and racial reconciliation work happen? How did that start to bleed into Hope and the life of the church?

Lisa Miller 4:01
Yeah, so Beth, I think at the time, Beth was the Connections Pastor at Hope. And so that was her job, right? Connecting people with the places and things. So that’s why I went to her, and then she kind of took it from there. So I’ll kind of let her explain.

Dr. Will Gravely 4:17
Okay, Beth.

Beth Yokley 4:19
So even in my position as a Connections Pastor, because that was largely focused on the church, I also got to dabble in local missions a lot. And we were serving in various public school districts. And that tie, I think, is what Lisa was saying. Like, we wanted to serve folks in our community that didn’t look like us, but we didn’t know their stories. I think was what Lisa was saying, we need to understand where they’re coming from. And for me, I didn’t grow up in Springfield. So, Springfield is pretty significantly divided along a historic route, the race riot of 1908 quite literally split the city in half. And there is a distinctive line along 11th Street. And the east side of Springfield is predominantly Black and the west side of Springfield is predominantly white. So as a person who didn’t grow up here, just noticing that and questioning that, that had all been a part of my experience when this conversation with Lisa happened. And then not too shortly after that conversation, I had a conversation with Rikeesha Phelon, who had also, ironically, we grew up in the same town. And Rikeesha brought to light for me as a white woman, the response of people of color to specifically the election of Donald Trump. And she just opened my eyes to a whole bunch of issues that I was not seeing. And it was after that conversation that I saw the connection, you know, that Lisa and Rikeesha would be connecting on on this topic. Because I was eagerly awaiting Lisa saying, “Okay, it’s time to go.” Because she was doing your research. And I have a hard time slowing down. So when she was ready to go the day of IF, I was ready to go. She made me wait, which was good. (laughter)

Lisa Miller 6:26
Yeah, I took a couple of years. I needed to learn, right, I needed to listen and read and ask some questions. And so, poor Beth, she had to wait for me. Like she said, she’s the go girl. And I was like, no pump the brakes. I need to, I can’t jump into this without knowing something. So she did a good job of patience with me.

Dr. Will Gravely 6:50
Well, that’s good. And that was a healthy choice. And I would love to hear Rikeesha, just how that conversation with Beth, how you navigated that? How did you all connect? And then, had you had any prior connection to Be the Bridge before this conversation happened?

Rikeesha Phelon 7:07
Yes, it was awkward. (laughter) It was awkward, but also beautiful. I had spent some time stepping away from the church that I was a part of after 2016. And, you know, it’s really easy to think that a lot of that was my reaction to the 2016 election. And I think, because I’ve spent a lot of time in politics, a lot of people think that my disengagement and disappointment and broken heartedness over conversations on race and injustice in that time had to do with politics. To be very honest with you, I was brokenhearted over what I saw was a lack of Christ-like character in white evangelical spaces that refused to disciple on anti-racism. So I stepped away from that space for quite a while. And I was introduced to Be the Bridge from another local church. I didn’t go to the church, but Central Baptist was doing Be the Bridge, and they wanted to invite me in to be a part of that discussion. And I said yes, because I desperately needed to have the conversation. And I needed it happen with my brothers and sisters that were white. So I participated in that. I learned a lot. I grew a lot. I got real honest about what it’s like to grow up in all white evangelical spaces, to kind of have issues of race covered up with language of brotherhood and sisterhood only to find that my pastors and mentors in those spaces could not pastor me through the particular pain that racism and disenfranchisement causes. So I was angry, but also hungry for connection and conversation around this. So I went to the first Be the Bridge group, and then I connected with Beth and she introduced me to Lisa who has been my partner at Hope Church. And every time I hear Lisa talk about growing up in Ferguson, and that reality check that the Holy Spirit brought to her, I just want to cry because you know, at that same time, I was pretty convinced that white evangelicals couldn’t hear God. But she could. And Beth could. And Hope Church opened a space for this conversation that I think is so important, not just for people of color and white people who are geared toward justice, but I think the work of anti-racism and Be the Bridge is part of discipleship, and it’s part of how we mirror Christ-like behavior to the world. So I’m grateful.

Dr. Will Gravely 10:08
Wow. Well, first of all, you are three incredible sisters and bridge builders, to say the least. And so we thank you so much for engaging in this work, and for being a part of birthing it at Hope Church. And would love to just hear a couple of thoughts. A lot of our groups are rooted in community. There may be neighbors, friends, coworkers that engage in this hard and holy work. But why do you feel that this is so critical to happen inside of churches and potentially as a church? Lisa, I heard some prayerful concern and discernment about selecting the right members to kick this off, as far as those that you thought were ready. And Rikeesha, I heard from your experience some pain and some trauma from navigating these white evangelical spaces. I would love to just hear each of you maybe just share a bit about why is this work so critical as a local church, if not simply within the local church itself?

Lisa Miller 11:15
Somebody want to take that? I can, if you guys…or Beth, you should probably start.

Beth Yokley 11:21
Yeah, I think he wants us all to take it.

Lisa Miller 11:23
I know. (laughter)

Dr. Will Gravely 11:25
That was so polite.

Beth Yokley 11:31
There are a lot of areas where Latasha has helped us I think. Our lead pastor is very passionate about the fact that we need to be able to have difficult conversations. And our current climate as a nation is so polarizing. And he really bucks that. And Latasha’s material really helps us with that. Because it encourages conversation, discussion, and the focus being on the people. That we have got to, as brothers and sisters in Christ, be able to have difficult conversations because we’re united by the love of Jesus. If we can’t have these conversations, who can? So we really rely on the Be the Bridge to give us a model for having difficult conversations about race and beyond. Because there are so many topics right now that are polarizing. So it’s it’s been critical for us to really stay honest and open. Yeah, it’s just, it’s really, really important.

Lisa Miller 12:55
Yeah, I would add to that, you know, I think, the new covenant that Jesus gave us is that we’re supposed to love our neighbor as he loved us. Right? Not love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And I think that part of these hard conversations, there’s something culturally, and this isn’t just in the church but it’s particularly hard in the church. Is that sometimes when you love someone, you have to have those hard conversations, because you love them. But that doesn’t feel good. And so it sometimes doesn’t feel like love. Right? And I think that the church has sometimes, you know, leaned on that feel good love. And we are, I feel like Hope is a place where we do, like Beth said, we’re open to challenging each other with hard conversations. And I think that’s why it makes the Be the Bridge ministry possible at Hope. And I think that, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Like we all, the three of us have conversations regularly about how do we navigate this and where are we going to go next? And how are we going to handle the next conversation? But I think it’s important that Christians have this conversation because of that command of love, but also because we’re all created in God’s image. Right? Imago Dei. We are. And if we believe that then we need to act like that.

Rikeesha Phelon 14:35
Yeah, I would agree. And you know, there’s a lot of, there are a lot of reasons why Be the Bridge works in many places, but specifically at Hope. I think it’s worked and we’ve been able to grow it and reproduce it, including reproducing other group leaders – that’s been amazing to watch. But one of the reasons it works is that it has the full backing of the executive leadership and pastor. And I have these amazing women to work with to do this, and not only are they God fearing and curious, but they know how to make sure that the spaces that we have this conversation are psychologically safe for people of color. And there are just not a lot of places that are prepared to do that in a way that’s thoughtful and healing and doesn’t exacerbate trauma. But I really think it’s been one of the unspoken or secret ingredients to why it works so well here. Is yes, we have the curriculum. Yes, we’ve had the inspiration from Latasha and others. But the leadership backing and the psychological safety of being able to have these conversations in an honest way has been really impactful. And I’m not sure that it would be as successful without those things.

Dr. Will Gravely 16:09
That is incredible. Yes, to have the full backing of leadership. And you said something very, very critical – psychological safety. Are we truly creating a safe space for others to be their full selves as we do this bridge building work together? That’s incredible. You also shared some rich history amongst the group both having ties to Ferguson, but also this notion of Springfield and 11th Street or 11th Avenue being sort of this dividing line between East and West. I’m curious, where does Hope fall? And even as we discuss where Hope might be situated within the city or the surroundings what impact have you seen actually taking place in Hope, both inside of your group and amongst the larger congregation?

Beth Yokley 17:02
Well, to my great chagrin, we are on the far, far west side of Springfield. It drives me quite batty. We are off, we’re even off of the bus route. So that is not my favorite thing about Hope by any stretch. And what that means is that we have a lot of fingers in a lot of different smaller communities outside of Hope, which is interest, outside of Springfield, which is also interesting. As far as the impact? I think it goes, I think it goes both ways. I think we’re a little bit scary for those who are not ready for the conversation. And then for other folks, it’s incredibly refreshing and life giving, that there is a place that lifts up Jesus that’s also willing to have conversations like this.

Lisa Miller 18:05
I think part of the impact as well, when I look at, you know, where we started and where we are now is finding, more people are willing to have the conversation than when we first started. And that is, I mean, if I were to, you know, I’m a business person. If I were to look at this and had metrics against it, that’s a good thing. But I also think that one of the ways we’ve talked to folks every time we have a book study or a discussion group or whatever, is that just recognizing racism in your life as a white person, right, that that is a huge step. And so we try and encourage everyone to understand that this is lifelong work. And this isn’t just you’re going through this study. And so for me, part of the impact is getting people to see, to see the disparities. Right? Because then they can pay more attention. And they can say that it doesn’t exist or it does, but then they’re questioning it and talking about it, which they weren’t before. So I believe, that’s where I see Hope is that we have way more people doing that than before. And so if it were too quiet, then I wouldn’t feel like our work was working. But because people sometimes they don’t agree, and that’s okay, too. It continues the conversation. That’s the impact I’ve seen. Is that continued, at least, exposure.

Rikeesha Phelon 19:40
Yeah, I would say something that’s a little different. And I’m not sure that Pastor Brian or Beth or the leaders of Hope Church would see this as a success metric. And maybe it’s not. But I think if you’re doing Be the Bridge right or you’re doing anti-racism work right, it’ll be at at a cost. And I watched these leaders pay a cost for starting this conversation and being insistent that it’d be a part of the way that we introduce our selves to the city. And I, again, nobody looks at that as a metric of success. But it is, it has certainly been one of the ways that I’ve been able to see that they’re willing to count the costs associated with doing what you call hard and holy work.

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Dr. Will Gravely 22:07
That’s excellent. And yes, you’re right. It is sort of a metric of success that flies under the radar, that there’s challenges that surface, there’s tensions that surface. Some may refuse to stay connected in fellowship at a given ministry or in a given group, because the condition of their heart comes to the surface as well. Right? And so this is a very healthy metric in many cases, is to see some of these tensions surface and even sometimes people to exit because they don’t want to participate. Um, Lisa?

Lisa Miller 22:46
Yeah, one example, Dr. Will, that I would share is that when George Floyd was murdered, we had a night of lament. And it was outside, you know, it was the middle of the pandemic. And we read the prayer of lament directly out of the book, the Be the Bridge book from Latasha. And that was a hard one. There’s a lot, I mean, that prayer of lament is strong. And so, that was one of those where it needed to happen. But it was one that had a cost for our congregation, I believe. And so. But it was a very powerful night. Like it is one that I will always remember. It was a needed night. But yeah, I think that’s part of what Rikeesha is talking about.

Rikeesha Phelon 23:40
Yes, absolutely.

Dr. Will Gravely 23:43
That’s good. And honestly, cost and value go hand in hand. When something has integrity, hopefully there’s a high cost and a high value due to high quality. And then when something is cheap, it can have low cost but also low value. And this work is extremely valuable. And so oftentimes it comes with a high cost. And so we just thank you and your leadership and your ministry of Hope Church for continuing in this journey in this hard and holy work. No, it is not easy. Anyone who’s engaged in this type of work, biblical justice, anti-racism, racial reconciliation, it is extremely difficult. Extremely difficult. But our constant encouragement to one another is that it’s worth it. Right? So that speaks to the cost and the value piece. We talked about the cost, and even the impact in Hope Church. That this is now what Hope Church is becoming known for as its public face to the city, as those that are longtime attendees or members of the faith family there and those that are new to the Hope family. We talked about the impact of groups as a group, but we’d love to hear what is some of the personal impact that you’ve each experienced being a part of Be the Bridge, especially at Hope Church?

Rikeesha Phelon 25:10
Well, I can say that for me after being in spaces where no one wanted to have the conversation, there’s something really powerful about being in a space where they just simply pass you the mic. And they listen. And that sounds so simple. And maybe even trite. But, you know, the way that they opened their hearts and the way that they created a platform, and didn’t just invite people of color in just so that they could meet a certain quota for Be the Bridge, but actively sought ways to learn and be a part of even my healing is really something I’ll never forget.

Dr. Will Gravely 25:58
Wow, Rikeesha. That’s powerful. Very powerful.

Lisa Miller 26:02
I think for me, I think that it’s been the biggest lesson in humility of my life. And I say that from, you know, growing up in a family where my mom was very much a feminist that was like, “You’re powerful. You have power as a woman.” Right? And so, to me, it was always like I needed to take the lead. And what I’ve learned in this work is that while I need to be a leader, I don’t have to take the lead. And I shouldn’t take the lead in some things. And that has been a hard thing for me to learn. And it’s not a weakness position, it is a respect position. And so I’ve been super fortunate, too, to have Rikeesha as my co-leader, because I trust her. And I can follow her. So that’s been powerful for me. nd to the point where like, spiritually powerful. Right? Like, biblically powerful for me to really understand what that means, in that it’s not a weakness, it is a strength. And so that’s probably the biggest thing. And I listen better. I listen far better than I ever have in my life. And I attribute that to this work.

Dr. Will Gravely 27:26
Wow, that’s incredible, Lisa. So so far, we’ve just heard about this space becoming a space of healing. And even something that seemingly is simply polite as far as passing the mic and creating space is actually quite profound and powerful. And even this notion of listening, learning, keeping a posture of learning even as you continue to lead, lead in this work, but not always having to lead everything. What a powerful lesson in humility. Beth, how about you? What is a picture or a glimpse of some of the personal impact that Be the Bridge has had on your life?

Beth Yokley 28:04
It’s really vast. So this is a really hard question. But I think anytime you open yourself up to diversity – diversity of thought, of culture – it just, like Lisa was saying, it just shows you how much there is to learn. It shows you how broken you still are and how much work you have to do on a spiritual level still. And then it also just like shows you the vast richness of God. That all these different people are just, they just have so much to offer. You know, in the Midwest, sometimes in our small towns, it’s pretty easy to surround yourself, and maybe this is true in lots of places, to just surround yourself with like, everybody’s like me. But when you get out there and and expose yourself to the diversity of people that God has created, yeah, it’s super humbling. And there’s so much to learn.

Dr. Will Gravely 29:13
Wow, what a powerful picture. Yeah, I think in many spaces, we have this habit of surrounding ourselves with likeness. And oftentimes it’s out of some hidden fear or insecurity that we all just share. Right? The familiar seems safe. And so what an incredible opportunity through Be the Bridge to learn from others that don’t look like us, vote like us, live like us. What an incredible lesson for us all. So now let’s talk about this. And you touched on it a little earlier, all three of you. But what did reproduction in your church when it comes to Be the Bridge look like? You all launched this group. In what ways have you reproduced this work inside of your ministry, inside of Hope Church?

Lisa Miller 30:01
Well, I think Rikeesha and Beth both talked about it a little bit. We have this model. And it started with Rikeesha having already gone through the curriculum of the discussion group. And so we decided early on that we really wanted to try and reproduce leaders by having one person who has led a group, co-lead with someone who hasn’t but has gone through the curriculum. So that they were educated enough to be able to talk through…and boy, people get super nervous about being a leader of one of these groups. So it sure helps us by saying, “Hey, if you’ve been through the group, you know how to lead these conversations.” So we’ve done that. Now, that means it’s taken, you know, we’ve had to go slower than maybe we would have. But we feel like quality wise, it’s been solid. But it’s also challenging. We don’t have a lot of people of color in our congregation. So we’ve also had to get a little creative there. And I’d love for Beth to talk a little bit about that.

Beth Yokley 31:09
So yeah, we’ve had an opportunity because of different partnerships in the community. Through our partnership with one of the elementary schools, we’ve made connections, our lead pastor is good friends with Dr. Newman, who’s a pastor at Fresh Visions, which is a predominantly Black church. So we’ve just kind of reached out in through our community connections to find other folks to partner with in that. And that’s been a great experience, as well.

Dr. Will Gravely 31:45
Yeah, that sounds incredible, that not only were bridges being built amongst the group members themselves, but even from Hope Church out to other faith families in the community. Yeah, that’s incredible. Okay, so this piece of reproduction. I love this model of pairing people up, those that had been through at least a study guide before had some experience and those who were kind of new to the experience. This sounds like discipleship, right? And so this is quite a healthy model, not just in the bridge building work when it comes to culture, but also this bridge building work when it comes to the life of a church. So if you’re out there, and you’re listening, “Uhh, is Be the Bridge for us? How would we implement Be the Bridge in our faith family?” This is a an easy on ramp to whatever discipleship life you have. Now, the conversations and the work are far from easy. Right? But this is simply discipleship, just in a specific area as it’s led by scripture. And all of our resources, chiefly, Latasha’s incredible book, which by the way, is a New York Times bestseller. So the Lord has done incredible things with that and is still doing incredible things with that, as well as our study guides. This can fit right in as a discipleship curriculum, because this is certainly discipleship space. And so we love to kind of land the plane in all of our episodes with this one question. And I must say, I’m honored to serve as a board member and to hear the stories on the ground of groups. And the work actually working in the community that’s being formed as the bridges are literally being built is so encouraging to us as a team. And so we thank each of you, Lisa, Beth, and Rikeesha for that. But we would love to hear from you as we close out. What is bringing you hope these days? Where are you drawing hope from?

Rikeesha Phelon 33:40
That’s a really tough question this week with so much going on in the country, in the world. We’re trying to get through a pandemic and war and shootings, and, you know, Baltimore and the racist motivated shooting there. But one of the things that gives me hope is this group and that we’re continuing to push forward with this conversation. And you know, that’s not something that I was able to be a part of even four or five years ago. So that still gives me hope.

Lisa Miller 34:16
I would, I would kind of echo some of that, like the relationships. Right? I think that the relationships with these wonderful women, but also the relationships with all of the groups that we’ve been a part of. That’s hopeful for me. Right? Like, even if it’s just glimmers, even if it’s just little, little light bulbs going on in people’s faces when we’re talking about something. Like that, that to me is what…like I feel like I’m called to do that. Like in a white space that I’m called to introduce and make aware and make connections with something that matters to these people that I’m working with in the church to get them to one to dig in deeper. So when I see a little glimmer, that’s the hope that keeps me going. Because I believe whether that’s educational disparities, health disparities, criminal justice disparities, whatever it is, there’s something that’s interesting enough that they’re willing to dig deeper into it. And we’ve sparked those things. And that’s the hope that keeps keeps me saying how do we, what’s the next thing? What’s the next thing?

Beth Yokley 35:25
I think, what came to mind when you said that was a couple of faces of young, young women who are excited to jump into this work. This one young leader that we have, who is going to be leading our Why Be the Bridge, which is kind of an introduction to Be the Bridge this summer. Just her tenacity and her desire to get in there and lead a group. And young people like that are so exciting to me. And as we enter post-pandemic world, like hope is looking younger and younger. Which it’s just super exciting to think about what those young people will be doing, as we lead them, you know, with Christ. And, yeah, that’s super, super exciting, super hopeful.

Dr. Will Gravely 36:25
Well, we certainly are drawing hope, from your experience and your stories and what you all have shared with us, not only today, but along the journey of doing this incredible work. And so for that we are so grateful. Just want to leave with some words of encouragement to other folks that may be in leadership at a church or may simply be a part of the faith family there, but feel this pull, feel this tug, to engage in this holy and hard work who might be considering bringing Be the Bridge to their community of faith, starting a group, starting a study. What encouragement might you say? And maybe we can frame it this way, in a sense of how we began – those that might be on the east side of Springfield, those that might be on the west side, and somewhere in between those who find themselves both in beautifully diverse spaces, and also those that might be in homogenous spaces – how might you encourage those that are wrestling with whether their church can also participate in Be the Bridge?

Beth Yokley 37:29
My encouragement would be first to just pray. Because He’s going to make a way. And two would be just, and one of the things you can pray for is “Who is it, Lord? Who do you have for me?” And then start that conversation. So whether that is, you know, the Indian neighbor that you have that you’ve never had a conversation with. Or the Black family that works in your, you know, you work with the dad in your office. Whatever, whoever it is, just ask the Lord for that person and start the conversation. And see what He does.

Lisa Miller 38:04
I would say that, it’s super scary, right? I get that it’s super scary. And there’s a lot of fear around, “I’m gonna say the wrong thing. I’m going to put my foot in my mouth.” Yes, yes, we all do. I do. And I did two years of work before I had the first group. Right? Like, I still know that I am not going to say the right thing or do the right thing. And that’s okay. We’re broken. That’s the world we live in. God knows that. And our neighbors will know that too.

Dr. Will Gravely 38:41
Thank you. Thank you for the encouragement, Lisa.

Rikeesha Phelon 38:45
Well, not to get too preachy. But I think for me, the work starts with thinking about this work as part of spiritual formation. And when you see racism as sin and anti-Christ, the work becomes an imperative. And it becomes an act of spiritual discipline to follow this path. And I think it’s important for the world to see that about us as Christians.

Dr. Will Gravely 39:14
Yes. Well, that is an incredible encouragement. And yes, this is hard and holy work. This is God’s heart for God’s people. And it should show up in the community, but most chiefly in the church and our faith families. And so we encourage you all. We’ve gained and garnered great encouragement from the stories of Lisa, Beth, and Rikeesha, and ultimately, Hope Church. And so we encourage you out there. If you’re on the fence, start with prayer. Let that biblical conviction for this reality, this is God’s desire. So it’s going to be accomplished. We just have the opportunity and unique privilege to participate. We encourage you to join the family. And so thank you to this incredible family of Hope Church for connecting with to us, as a Be the Bridge family. And so this is Dr. Will Gravely sitting in for our amazing founder, Latasha Morrison. And we are signing out as we celebrate our six year anniversary. Thank you so much the whole church to Lisa, Beth, and Rikeesha. And to all of you listening out there, we love you all. Let’s continue to do this incredible work.

Tandria Potts 40:22
Go to the donors table if you’d like to hear the unedited version of this podcast.

Narrator 40:29
Thanks for listening to the Be the Bridge podcast. To find out more about the Be the Bridge organization and or to become a bridge builder in your community, go to Again, that’s If you enjoyed this podcast, remember to rate and review it on this platform and share it with as many people as you possibly can. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Today’s show was edited, recorded, and produced by Travon Potts at Integrated Entertainment Studios in Metro Atlanta, Georgia. The host and executive producer is Latasha Morrison. Lauren C. Brown is the Senior Producer. And transcribed by Sarah Connatser. Please join us next time. This has been a Be the Bridge production.

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