Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Rev. Efrem Smith

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Rev. Efrem Smith

Article excerpt

Bio: Author of The Hip-Hop Church; Senior pastor of The Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis. Web site: www.sanctuarycov.org

1 Sanctuary Covenant has a "vision to be an urban, multiethnic, relevant, holistic, Christ-centered community." When is a moment you experienced that? We adopted a school a couple years ago, sending volunteers to tutor kids, and we found out that there were a number of kids from a homeless shelter. We didn't have the wherewithal to address their housing challenges, but we wanted to make sure that those kids went to school with dignity, and so we provided brand-new backpacks, school supplies, and winter coats, boots, and mittens for all of them. To be able to partner with the school in that way--and that opened doors for us to connect with some of the parents--to me, that's really what we're about.

2 What's one thing that has really surprised you? I wasn't expecting when we started this urban church in Minneapolis that we'd have such a response from white evangelicals, in terms of attendance and membership. When we first started, our church was almost 70 percent white. The majority of them were between the ages of 19 and 35, and were clearly evangelical, but had such a passion for social justice and social change. Now we're more like 50 percent white and 40 percent black, 10 percent Asian and Latino. I was surprised by how many European Americans saw Sanctuary Covenant Church as a place they would want to call home.

3 What is the biggest challenge you and Sanctuary Covenant experience now? …

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