This research project seeks to explore the role of African American churches from a contemporary perspective. The aim is to investigate how the roles of African American church leaders within the community have changed from the civil rights era to the present day. The target audience for this study is academics and anyone involved, interested in, or studied by social justice. Social justice is a concept that promotes that all members of society, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, education, etc., should have the same opportunities, privileges and protections as everyone else.
This concept is based on the idea that all people share a common humanity and are therefore entitled to equitable treatment, to support for their human rights and to a fair allocation of community resources. When society recognizes that an injustice is being committed, some members form a group action that leads to a social movement. Social movements are led by organizations that focus on specific political or social issues and that are carried out to resist or undo social change. In the case of this study, group action is called Black Lives Matter.
In addition, social justice in relation to current events related to police shootings has been a key aspect of criminal justice and the center of our legal system. While conducting interviews in Ferguson, Missouri, for an immersive learning course last semester, I noticed that the role of black churches seemed to differ from the role they played during the civil rights era of the 1960s, and this observation led me to continue with this research project. In this research, I interviewed leaders of African-American churches in St. Louis, Missouri, to assess their perspective on the participation of churches in the Black Lives Matter movement and whether their views describe a modern social movement.
St. John's United Church of Christ will insulate the large attic above its sanctuary, replace the sanctuary's incandescent bulbs with LED lights, and supply approximately 100 homes in the surrounding community with LED bulbs for their porches. Many parishes in the Diocese of Missouri have established congregational ministries to work for racial justice. It is a ministry to promote and publicize the work of racial reconciliation and to provide opportunities for individuals and religious communities to participate in the necessary work of recognizing, denouncing, encouraging and dismantling systems of oppression born of domestic slavery in the diocese of Missouri.
Louis and provides resources for other religious institutions to implement their own sustainability projects, says Kim Noble, chief operating officer of Green The Church. The Missouri Lutheran Church Synod condemns racism and asks its members to combat it in the church and in society. Joshua House Ministries Christian Church, in collaboration with LinkSTL, will teach children in their neighborhood safe bike riding practices and will offer a program in which young people will receive their own bike and helmet and participate in group bike rides, where they will learn about air and water quality, native plants, and environmental justice. To reach out to the larger community, Beloved Community United Methodist Church is developing the Joshua Green Team for a coalition of Gate District churches to undertake their own ecological projects.
In response to government intrusions at the church level, the Synod's “Being Faithful Free” campaign aims to educate and inspire informed action to protect religious freedom and all cultural issues related to it. Both Central Baptist Church and First Baptist Church are transforming vacant lots into community gardens and will distribute produce grown in these spaces to local food banks and families in need. Louis, environmental injustices such as an abundance of empty and abandoned properties, food insecurity issues, and localized floods have become some of the priorities addressed by the TNC Cities Program in Missouri.