While working on a story on Tony Yarber's Jackson Crime Alignment, I got the pleasure of speaking with pastor Matt McGue of one of Jackson's newest churches, One Church.
I am admittedly not very religious, but there's something about McGue's message of inclusion that struck me as incredibly genuine.
There aren't too many pastors you can interview who will quote Billy Graham and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but McGue isn't like many pastors. His One Church is intent on becoming a multicultural, multiracial and multi ethnical house of worship, which is rare in this part of the country.
Our churches, much like the rest of our everyday lives, are still segregated – not by law, but by cultural barriers that have needed to be knocked down for years.
That'll change if McGue has his way. He moved here from North Carolina, after helping to start a similar church in Charlotte called Lifepoint. He brought his wife ("I'm glad she decided to come"), his son and his son's wife, who is a recent addition to the family.
They are meeting in the Ridgeland Recreational Center near Northpark Mall, and he says he's found a location he hopes will be the future home of a permanent church. It's too early to say where it is, but he's hoping to be able to make an announcement soon.
He said two things in the course of a 15-minute conversation that have stuck with me the last two days, but probably won't make a story about fighting crime: "The churches have been preaching a message of inclusion and racial harmony from segregated pulpits," and "I want to build a church in Jackson that looks like Heaven, with people from every tribe and nation."
What a message – and a breath of fresh air – for a city as ethnically and racially divided as Jackson.