Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to Cincinnati for the annual conference of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), a network of over 500 non-profit ministries ranging from grassroots, community-based groups to large relief and development organizations. The common bond for CCDA members is their shared mission to serve under-resourced communities and marginalized people through holistic ministries that address both physical and spiritual needs.

It was a great conference, with over 3,000 practitioners of community-based ministry in attendance. I think one of the best overviews of the event comes from my friend Chris Rice, who is a co-director of the Center for Reconciliation at the Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Chris has been one of the key leaders in the modern evangelical church’s pursuit of racial reconciliation, and his books, including the memoir Grace Matters and the classic More Than Equals, written with his late ministry partner Spencer Perkins, have laid a foundation for how the church should be engaging these issues of diversity and justice. His latest book, with his Center for Reconciliation co-leader Emmanuel Katongole, is Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace, and Healing.

the annual event is a celebration of Christian worship and unity, but it was not without its controversial moments, including a provocative talk by Bart Campolo (hopefully it will become available online somewhere before long) and CCDA’s declaration to take on the immigration reform issue in a more forthright manner. It remains to be seen what kind of political fallout will result from that, but one admires the organization’s boldness in insisting that the church take a stand for biblical justice in regards to this polarizing subject.

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