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Kingsport church to launch Kneeling for Change Candlelight Challenge

MISSY BELOTE • Jun 11, 2020 at 12:00 PM

KINGSPORT — First Broad Street United Methodist Church is inviting the community to join them as they take a stand against racism. Beginning on Sunday, June 14, at 8:30 p.m., FBS will kick off the Kneeling for Change Candlelight Challenge with a devotion posted on the church Facebook page from Lead Pastor Randy Frye (https://www.facebook.com/FirstBroadStreet/).

After watching the devotion, participants are encouraged to go outside their homes to kneel in prayer and light a candle; both acts demonstrate a willingness to be the light of Christ against racism. To create a shared experience, the church invites participants to snap photos of themselves and families to share on social media using #KneelingforChange.

“For centuries, followers of Christ have understood the importance of kneeling for change. We kneel in prayer to ask God for guidance as we seek to change the world to reflect God’s character of love, mercy, and forgiveness. Racism, whether subtle or overt, is in contradiction to the very heart of God as revealed in Jesus’s words and deeds. This online event is one way we can become the light of Christ in the darkness,” said Frye.

The Kneeling for Change Candlelight Challenge event enables all people to take a public stand against racism without the health risks of being in a large gathering.

“This online event has the potential to be low risk for exposure to COVID-19 while making a strong impact on our community and beyond. By sharing photos of our participation on social media, we demonstrate that we are willing to humble ourselves in a kneeling position to ask for God’s guidance as we seek to love each other better,” said Joy Eastridge, FBS parish nurse.

Sunday’s coordinated event is an opportunity for participants to invite their family and friends to kneel in prayer, light a candle, and share a photo on social media as a means to bring more prayer and light to bear on the problem of racism.

“We pray that God will forgive us for our complicity and support of unjust systems that create fear, heartache, and tragic consequences for persons of color. As the mother of children born in Africa and Asia, I want us to speak less and listen more as our church seeks how best to be in service and support of persons of color,” says Missy Belote, FBS associate pastor.

According to church officials, Sunday’s online event is the first step in an ongoing effort by FBS “to live into God’s call to stand in solidarity with persons of color who experience discrimination in any form. It builds upon the church’s long-standing commitment to local, regional, and international missions that reach people of diverse races and nations. As followers of Jesus, the congregation seeks to serve and minister to people in Kingsport and around the world.”

Missy Belote is associate pastor at First Broad Street United Methodist Church.

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