Juneteenth, Emancipation, and Church Planting Today

Todd Rains
June 18, 2022

Thabiti Anyabwile and John Onwuchekwa recently wrote an opinion piece last year titled "We need a better strategy to plant Black and brown churches." The article, published originally on June 19th, traces the history of Black churches before and after emancipation—the central event celebrated by Juneteenth. Anyabwile and Onwuchekwa look at the parallels between then and now and call for a new understanding of church planting today for Black and brown communities.

Juneteenth Emancipation Day Celebration, June 19, 1900, Texas. (Austin History Center/Public Domain)
Image of a plaque from the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, GA

First African Baptist Church of North American (Bohemian Baltimore/CC BY-SA 4.0)

In the article, they argue that rather than embrace a multi-ethnic model of the church:

Black and brown communities need the freedom to plant gospel-preaching, neighbor-loving, justice-seeking churches responsive to their own contexts and needs, free from the white gaze.

They stress that this can lead to stronger, more engaged partnerships between churches in different communities that are all engaged in the same effort. In fact, this is what happened after emancipation. We recommend that you go read the article.

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