Aubrey Edwards-Luce and Juli Weidmann consider it a privilege to take part in the Be the Bridge Race to Austin.
Although they both used to live and met in St. Louis, they now live in differing parts of the country. Aubrey and her husband are planting a church in the Washington, D.C. area and Juli lives in Texas with her family. Despite the miles, the bond they developed in St. Louis over race-based conversations remains strong and they decided to form a team to raise money for Be the Bridge.
How did you meet?
(Juli) When we lived in St. Louis, we attended the same church. In the midst of a very loving church community, I sensed a bit of silence about the pain experienced by those of us in a cultural minority. I wanted to have conversations that addressed things like culturally inclusive worship and the ignorance around micro-aggressions
Aubrey and I, and our husbands, began meeting and inviting others from our church and community into conversations about racial identity, diversity, and gender. Ironically, even though we called the group BRIDGES, we had yet to hear about Be the Bridge.
How do you learn about Be the Bridge?
(Aubrey) We found an online group going through the Discussion Guide. My husband and I participated and we loved it. We loved it so much we wanted the Discussion Guide to be part of the DNA of our church-planting and growing experience.
Why is Be the Bridge important to you?
(Aubrey) We see from the Bible that God puts an emphasis on reconciliation from the very beginning and that God wants the restoration of all people to Himself and to each other. Eleven o’clock on Sundays is still the most segregated hour of the week. My husband and I are an interracial couple and we believe it’s important to attend a church where our kids won’t carry the burden of being “the only ones”. Be the Bridge offers important tools that move us toward racial reconciliation. My husband and I are the leaders of our Bridge group in D.C. and it has been challenging in many ways but also really good. As the facilitator of color, there is an extra layer of exhaustion so I am especially excited about developments such as Whiteness 101 and the upcoming People of Color Care Guide.
(Juli) I see the benefit of having structured conversations about race. People want to and the need is very visible. There is a lot of tension and a lot of hurt. We’re either part of the solution or we’re part of the problem. A lot of people are open but they don’t know how to engage. It is so important to have structured and educated leadership within this conversation and Be the Bridge provides many resources so that this can happen.
Why did you join the Race to Austin?
(Juli) Besides the fact that it would be amazing to hang out with Latasha for an afternoon, I want to invest in peace and equity and justice and I encourage others to do the same. The way we do this is by supporting an organization like Be the Bridge that is training us in how to move toward those things.
(Aubrey). I’m joining the Race to Austin because Be the Bridge builds important tools that advance the true Gospel and racial reconciliation. The curriculum has been an important tool in the process of beginning conversations and acknowledging the important impact of the gospel on this conversation. I would like to do anything I can to help facilitate brave conversations about race and to make those conversations more fruitful and I believe Be the Bridge does both of those things.
What would you like to tell someone considering investing in Be the Bridge?
(Aubrey). They should give right away because the better equipped people are to enter into these discussions and to do this work the more healing will happen and the better expression of the Gospel the world is going to see. People do not always recognize how integral reconciliation is to evangelism and to advancing the Gospel. If you say you love Jesus and you live in a multiethnic place like Washington D.C., but your entire world is monoehtnic, you may as well be a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. You are not connecting.
A lot of people have left the church because they have been told they are loved but awful injustices are continuing and nobody talks about it or acknowledges it. Be the bridge creates an explicit place for this to happen. It has been healing for women of color who have left the church or thought about leaving the church to see other people confronted with the realities that they live and to start taking tangible steps toward reconciliation. This is truly a worthy investment.
Click here Donate to Juli and Aubrey’s Race to Austin campaign for Be the Bridge.
Gina Fimbel, thank you for this post. Its very inspiring.