“The world is watching us. If the church is not willing to= engage deeply and honestly on these pressing questions, we risk slipping further into irrelevance.” – Paula Fuller
A year ago, George Floyd lost his life at the hands of an unjust system, sparking a worldwide outcry for change. As the church in the United States continues to grapple with the consequences, the basic questions of justice raised by Floyd’s murder find local echoes in every context of IFES ministry worldwide, as Christians everywhere face other deeply rooted structures of racial injustice.
In this issue of World & World, Paula Fuller, the Executive Vice President of People and Culture at InterVarsity USA, reflects on persistent racial divides in the American church and how students should be shaped to be agents of reconciliation. N.T. Wright, author and theologian, also shares his perspective on the church as God’s worldwide family, and how “racism is a failure of vocation.” We also look back at our series of Conexión articles from the past year, with stories of students across IFES regions who are choosing to confront and address injustice in their own contexts.
This issue features illustrations from Vancouver-based artist Brian Liu. Brian was born and raised in Hong Kong, and focused his time on creative pursuits as a means to understand and to be understood after moving to Canada in 1993. He currently works as a brand and communication designer and painter, and hopes to use creativity and empathy to live life helping those who are often unheard and misunderstood. Regarding his work for this issue, he says,
Racism is not an easy subject to talk about. At times it may seem easier to stay away from people who are different then us and label them as dangerous or to view their ways as wrong. But this will only lead us to fear and anger. As the body of Christ, we must lead the charge to break these barriers and take down the walls we build within our hearts and our churches.
We are also pleased to announce the appointment of our new editor and Theological Advisory Group chair, Femi Adeleye. Femi currently serves as Executive Director for the Institute of Christian Impact, an organization that exists to mentor and equip leaders to meet the needs and challenges of the growing church in Africa, but he will be well-known to many of you thanks to his previous leadership roles within IFES. We are delighted to have him working with IFES again as our editor, and we trust that we will all be enriched in future issues by his deep wisdom and experience.
Join us as we present an issue in which we explore the role of the church—and of students—in addressing these painful and urgent challenges.
Tim Adams, IFES General Secretary