NPR

Integrating Sunday Morning Church Service — A Prayer Answered

The 11 o'clock hour on a Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours in America, Martin Luther King famously said. Now, one church in Oakland is trying to change that.
Congregants stand and pray, at the end of the Sunday service at Tapestry Church, an newly, and intentionally, multi-ethnic church. Source: Sandhya Dirks

Churches are some of the most segregated places in America. But two pastors in Oakland are trying an experiment — to merge a white congregation and a black congregation into one house of worship, called Tapestry Church.

It all began one day when Kyle Brooks was running late.

Brooks was the pastor of Oakland Communion, a small mostly white church of newcomers to the city. He was attending the Bay Area Clergy Cohort, a social justice conference for Christian leaders, and stumbled into a group exercise after it had already started.

A facilitator had placed chairs in a pyramid shape. One at the front, then two behind it, then three, and four, and so on. The instructions were simple, sit in the chair that represents your place in society.

Bernard Emerson, the pastor of a small black church called The Way, was on time. He knew exactly where he would sit. As a black man in America, Emerson took a seat in the back row.

By the time Brooks got there, there was only one seat left for him to take as a young

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