Cultivating leaders as instruments of God’s peace

Editor’s note: As part of its mission, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) seeks to cultivate leaders. When she participated with the American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts (TABCOM) in the ABHMS-supported civil rights pilgrimage to the South a few years ago, the Rev. Sandra Dorsainvil found herself learning about leaders as instruments of God’s peace.

By the Rev. Sandra Dorsainvil

What is peace? What does it look like? As a denominational leader for mission and stewardship in Massachusetts, I often find myself challenged by these two questions.

The word peace took on deeper meaning during a civil rights pilgrimage of clergy and laity to Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia in 2014.

We heard testimonies of trauma, hurt, oppression and forgiveness from Sarah Collins Rudolph—survivor of the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala.—and the since-deceased Amelia Platts Boynton-Robinson—among those injured by law enforcement officers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Ala., in 1965. Peace lived in their hearts, and they taught me as we conversed.

Before returning home, we gathered at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, where ABHMS’ Rev. Dr. Brenda Halliburton-Williams reflected on James 1:22. “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves,” she challenged us. “Do what it says.”

We were confronted with our individual and corporate calls as leaders to be better instruments of God’s peace. Whether on a pilgrimage or delivering God’s Word from the pulpit, as a leader and missionary, I strive to show God’s light of peace.

Gifts to the America for Christ Offering help ABHMS to cultivate leaders who are instruments of God’s peace.

The Rev. Sandra Dorsainvil is TABCOM’s director of Mission and Stewardship.