Reverends at Florida Churches to Swap Pulpits on Palm Sunday to Bridge Racial Divide

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Reverends at two of West Palm’s oldest congregations, one white, one black, will swap pulpits on Palm Sunday in a gesture of racial reconciliation.

Rev. Randy Bare, of mostly white Memorial Presbyterian Church, will change places Sunday morning with Rev. Gerald Kisner of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, one of the county’s oldest African-American churches.

Bare and his congregation have participated in Good Friday services at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist for five years but this is the first time the churches are pulling a switch on one of the year’s busiest holy days.

“We talked about how can we do something in this current environment to show how religious leaders can at least begin to break down the barriers that separate us,” Kisner said.

“The whole question of race, we don’t want to deal with it in real terms,” he added. Many people thought that with the Obama presidency, America would be in a post-racial environment, he said. “In many instances it made people say, ‘We’re done with this, we don’t want to deal with this seemingly intractable issue.’”

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that the most segregated hour is 11 a.m. Sunday, “when we’re in our racial, denominational cocoons,” Kisner said. “We have to break those barriers down. We really are one people. There are many paths to God.”

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SOURCE: Palm Beach Post, Tony Doris

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