In wake of more Ferguson violence, time is ripe for serious conversations about race, religion, culture, class

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA, will sponsor the national gathering “Space for Grace,” Nov. 4-7, 2015, to begin Kingdom-healing conversations about the great divides—race, religion, culture and class—that separate individuals, neighborhoods and communities today, too often resulting in violence and loss of life.

People of all faiths are invited to take part in the dialogue.

The gathering, to be held at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel, seeks to bridge gaps of diversity by initiating dialogue that explores how Christians can live out faith in the midst of today’s racial, religious and cultural dynamics. When can God’s grace nurture a teachable moment that leads to transformed hearts, minds and spirits?

Theologian, author, speaker and activist Brian D. McLaren leads a roster of powerful, thought-provoking worship leaders and learning experience presenters that includes the Rev. Dr. Raphael Gamaliel Warnock, senior pastor of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church; the Rev. Susan Sparks, pastor, Madison Avenue Baptist Church, New York, N.Y.; and the Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, president, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Rochester, N.Y.

McLaren’s dozen-plus books include “A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions that Are Transforming the Faith” and “Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words.” Profiled in The Christian Century, Christianity Today and The Washington Post, McLaren has been named one of 25 influential Christian leaders in America by Time. He has been featured on CNN’s “Larry King Live” and ABC’s “Nightline” along with FOXNews, PBS and NPR. His blog can be found at www.brianmclaren.net.

The Space for Grace gathering will feature morning worship, daily Bible study with McLaren, small group discussion and conversation café opportunities, along with more than a dozen afternoon learning experience offerings such as “Consensus Building in the Midst of Diversity and Divergence,” “Extending Grace to Others in Tension-filled Moments” and “Ministering to Communities in Crisis.”

Registration for the Space for Grace gathering closes Oct. 21, 2015. To register, visit www.abhms.org and click the Space for Grace logo.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.

American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with more than 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.