Welcome to Episode 2 of Season 5! Today we speak with Rev. Dr. Chris L. Pierson, Senior Pastor of Gary United Methodist Church in Wheaton, IL. This summer was the 5th Anniversary of Pastor Chris beginning his pastorate in Wheaton. Today we focus on one particular day: his second Sunday and sermon at Gary Church on Sunday, July 10th, 2016. Even though Pastor Chris had served in various pastorates on the southside of Chicago, cross-racial appointments in Aurora, IL and Roselle, IL, and as Director of Connectional Ministries for the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church for 15 years (right before his appointment to Wheaton) . . . this Sunday was unique. He was a black man coming to pastor in the predominantly white, wealthy, and western Chicago suburbs. The circumstances of his starting ministry in Wheaton different, but so were the 7 days leading up to that Sunday. It was a horrible week of bloodshed, death, and hard questions about systemic racism, policing, and revenge. And into all of that hurt and pain, Pastor Chris stepped into the pulpit to preach the gospel to a new congregation.
For a greater context of events from this day in 2016:
We begin with a prayer (00:40), our lunch menu (01:43), Rev. Dr. Chris L. Pierson's own story of personal faith and salvation in Christ (02:11), his feelings on a new pastorate in 2016 (06:05), cross-racial appointments (pastorates) and friendship with former Gary Church pastor (and now Bishop) Rev. Dr. Tracy Malone (09:45), the racial context of that time and the events of violence leading up to Sunday, July 10th, 2016 (14:09), his picking of scripture and gospel theme for his sermon (22:05), his personal experience of racism, violence, and the police (27:59), advice for young preachers in times of conflict, mourning, and injustice (36:26), Pastor Chris prays for the Church (39:45), final thanks and blessing (41:49).
And finally, the menu for our lunch: