Join Mission Mississippi this Sunday

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, February 15, 2012

As part of the observance of Black History, Christian Hope Baptist Church, 301 LaSalle St., will host the Rev. Neddie Winters of Mission Mississippi as guest speaker at 11 a.m. Sunday. Mr. Phillip West will serve as master of services with local soloist, Ms. Pat Johnson.

Mission Mississippi’s theme of “Changing Mississippi, one relationship at a time” exemplifies a mission, committed to seeking peaceful relationships with all men, rooted in Jesus Christ. It is the belief that a true reconciliation is sought with God first, then one to another. The message is rooted in an evangelistic approach, in that, through preaching and speaking at church ministries and other organizations, the masses are engaged. People are then encouraged to intentionally build relationships with individuals of other races.

Rev. Winters, has been actively involved in racial reconciliation since his upbringing in rural Tunica.

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“I have lived my entire life developing relationships within difficult situations, bridging the gap, and in some instances, paving the way,” he said. “I have spent the last 38 years working in rural and community development, both in Mississippi and nationally. I got involved with Mission Mississippi in 1993 and made an initial 20-year commitment to the movement of racial reconciliation.”

Being brought up on a cotton plantation with sharecropping parents resulted in long years of laboring in the cotton fields. In addition, he witnessed his parents subjected to the most degrading forms of racism. He has confronted racism and prejudice personally and professionally. He once stated that he “moved from the cotton fields to college.” While there, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Alcorn State University, master’s degree in public finance management from the American University and an honorary doctorate of humanities from the New Foundation Theological Seminary in Terry. He now serves as pastor of Voice of Calvary Fellowship.

The work that has been done has been achieved by adhering to the mandate of Christianity of living out the confession of loving one another. “It is the belief that it is only through Christ, can we find the common ground needed to build strong relationships for the betterment of all people, regardless of race,” Rev. Winters stated.

It is by conforming to this philosophy that exemplifies the concept that love is the force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.

There has been some resistance to the efforts of Mission Mississippi. It is the intrinsic nature of man to arbitrarily reject or become resistant to what’s uncomfortable or unfamiliar. It is for that reason that Mission Mississippi has persevered these past 20 years diligently promoting racial harmony and reconciliation in the body of Christ. Learning and listening is an avenue to understand each other before any relationship can be forged.

Attitudes on racial issues often are a result of erroneous teachings or past experiences. The role of Mission Mississippi is to create an environment where it is safe to delve into the deeper issues of racial concerns through constant and ongoing dialogue.

“We refrained from judging or reacting negatively, but continued unapologetically in our mission, namely to facilitate Christ-based racial healing one relationship at a time.”

And in time, tempered by love, emerges an incredible realization, a transformation, from enemy to friend.

There are those that may look at the enormity of such a quest and wonder, where do I start or how do I began? You began by saying “hello.”

Please join us Sunday at Christian Hope Baptist Church, 301 LaSalle St. John W. Scott Jr. is pastor.


Diane M. Smith is a member of Christian Hope Baptist Church.