Church to promote diversity with Negro League player
BY TIMOTHY RAMSEY
Many people believe that the church is the one of the least diverse places left in the country. Some are often classified as a Black, White or Hispanic church when most believe it should simply be a church with no designation to color.
CITYChurch Winston believes that the gospel makes a difference in real life. Its mission is to be a community that exists despite the differences. In an effort to practice what it preaches CITYChurch is bringing former Negro League player Henry Mason, who is now working in ministry, to speak and answer questions following the morning service on Sunday, March 26.
CITYChurch Lead Servant, Chris Jones, said he has always tried to help spread diversity in the church, whether it be his own or other churches around the city. CITYChurch holds its worship services at Kennedy High School, at 890 E. 11 St. Winston-Salem.
“I think it breaks the heart of God that the church is still one of the most segregated places in America, especially in the South,” Jones said. “So when we started the church, it was with the intention of breaking down some of those walls. It has been a more difficult task than we felt it should be at times.”
Jones says one of the church leaders came to him about the idea of bringing in a Negro League player to speak to the congregation, and Jones jumped at the opportunity.
“He is one of the younger Negro League players that are left,” Jones continued. “Ten or 15 years from now these voices are just not going to be here, so we wanted to take advantage of hearing his experiences and what that meant to him.”
Mason played for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues before being brought into the Philadelphia Phillies farm system in 1955. He spent 8 seasons in the minor leagues and had brief stints with the Phillies in the major leagues as a relief pitcher in 1958 and 1960. Following his baseball career, Mason began his life in the ministry.
Jones says Mason has agreed to answer any questions that the audience may have for him regardless of the topic.
“We are bringing him here to make people uncomfortable, he said.
“We need to deal with some stuff in America, but definitely in the church, that is not comfortable.”