ryan and i had the great honor to be with a group of christian community development leaders this past week in jackson, mississippi. we have been a part of the christian community development association (ccda) since 2000 - learning with them, being inspired, gleaning wisdom, building relationships... we were able to go to jackson with this group of people to be with the veteran leaders of ccda, dr. perkins, dr. skinner, noel castellanos, and lowell nobel. this is the first of some gatherings over the next year to connect a new generation of leaders with ccda leaders, who are wiser and older. this time we were able to hear the legacy of those who have served through the civil rights movement, through decades of long toil, through the start and formation of the organization. we went to jackson because that is where dr. perkins and his wife vera mae started in MS - in a small town called Mendenhall. It is hard to put into words exactly what we experienced, saw, heard, prayed, tasted, thought... it was amazing. We went on a tour and Dr. Perkins showed us the truck stop they integrated after the Vietnam War, the courthouse where he went to trial without ever being formally charged for anything and receiving a beating in jail that almost killed him, the place where he listened to Dr. MLK's I have a dream speech and was passioned to press to on. The school where his kids were the first black students, and as we drove by this week we saw white and black children play side by side. The house he built for his family, the gym he built in the community, the current ministry center in Jackson with a community garden, housing, a play yard... So we saw all these sites and at the same time heard testimony and wisdom from these leaders' stories - I was inspired and moved in ways I can't describe. Their was a sense that God's spirit was resting on the place we were, on us, and passing down a generational blessing - that our stories were intertwined because we all find our home in God's family. Maybe I can better describe it after I digest it all over the next couple days and it's not so late and I don't have jet lag. Then again, maybe not. Below are some pics of our trip - great people and a great time together.
hearing the stories
us with dr. john perkins
Mendenhall - where Dr. Perkins started christian community development ministry
Our group at the Perkins Center
Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner - amazing leader, woman of prayer and a social worker :)
belly shot - eric rubs his belly more than i do...