A few years ago our Church eldership publicly denounced what was, at the time, the refusal to offer due process for asylum seekers. After listening to many in the WCC fam we registered with a few regional organizations to sponsor an asylum seeking family in their transition.
A local neighbor visiting WCC off-and-on (not a member) sent me a private message on Facebook that Sunday afternoon. They shared their concerns with the decision. They denounced my teaching (which wasn’t new to WCC). I replied in the hope that we could reason through the Scriptures together. In the end, ideology won. I’ll never forget what the neighbor said to me. It echoes in my heart (and I saved it in a phone note so I’d never forget). They said, “Pastor Fred, it’s deplorable that you would willingly put your own family at risk and encourage the Church to do the same by welcoming foreigners like these into our country. I will no longer attend the Church. You are a dangerous man.”
There’s much I could say about why I think the neighbor responded this way, but it wouldn’t be helpful. In the end, what I understood about the gospel then I still believe today: the people of Christ are committed to hospitality, because Christ is committed to us.
I’ll offer more in the next post. For now I just want to sit with that simple conviction.
Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience.
Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas.
Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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