Dan Czaplewski continues the conversation from last week about urban ministry, systemic racism, activity in the city, etc.
Tell me about bringing Ben Piering on your staff as community minister and director of youth.
Ben is great. He had just joined us when the riots occurred here in Milwaukee in 2016. The next morning he was one of the first ones out praying with people and helping clean up. He’s helped me better understand. He’s got incredible people skills. He builds relationships. He’s bold. To be honest he goes places I wouldn’t go in our community.
Dan, talk about racial injustice.
It takes a great deal of humility to admit that you don’t know what you don’t know. We need to find people that we can listen to. You don’t have to agree with their views. You don’t need to argue with them. Listen to understand them.
White America is not ready to admit there’s systemic racism, let alone do something with it. It’s a joke around here when Ben gets stopped in a mostly white suburb. We call it DWB…Driving While Black.
On the opposite side, there are lots of good police officers. I’ve prayed with our police chief in his office when he was embattled. Our school did an “adopt a cop.” We wanted to build relationships and express our appreciation for their service.
Tell me about the Mount Calvary Community Development Corporation.
We started an urban farm. We’re growing fresh vegetables for market. It employs high school interns, giving kids jobs…and the self respect that comes with it. They become part of making the community better.
What about PLI?
I did PLI many years ago. It saved my ministry. Sarah and I and our team did Discipleship to Missional Community. It transformed my ministry. I am so grateful.