Why are the churches so racially segregated?

Dear Editor,

After visiting about 40 churches, one of the things I’ve learned over the past two years is that almost all of the churches in Guyana are homogeneous and are infested by racial segregation.

It has led us to worship in segregated churches and live in separate societies and only rarely do we actually interface with one another.

Editor, I’m calling on the churches to make it their duty to promote diversity. I know it’s not going to be easy because of distrust on both sides.

However, looking at church history, we find that the first Christian church was known for its diversity. Jews, Gentiles, and Greeks mingled alongside women and slaves.

Biblical scholars have long maintained that the early church’s diversity was one of the reasons it became so popular.

Why are the churches so divided when Jesus prayed for the church to be one? Why is it that the 11 Sunday morning service is the most segregated hour in Guyana?

Editor, I believe that if the church remains segregated, it will not succeed in winning people to Christ, and Christianity will not become popular.

Editor, is it not the role of the church to lead our country towards racial reconciliation, diversity, and unity?

How can the church lead the nation when it is the most segregated major institution in our country?

Socially, we’ve become much more integrated in the schools, the police force and our businesses. But in the places where we worship, segregation still seems to be the norm.

Didn’t Jesus say, Christians are supposed to be the light of the world?

When are churches going to wake up to the reality that Christ is not honoured in segregated churches?

And aren’t Christians supposed to lead by example? Then, why is it that when it comes to racial unity, the church is not leading by example?

If the church is supposed to be the leader of the world, why is it that when it comes to breaking down racial segregation, the church is leading from behind?

Is it not the Christians mission, individually and collectively, to model love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?

Editor, the racial segregation is spreading fast so that there’s only one way to stop it: the churches must return to the teaching of Jesus to “Love your neighbours as you love yourself.”

I believe that in order for racial integration to take place in our country, it can only be started and realised in the Christian church. So let us hope that the next few years, we’ll see the end of racial divisions in the churches.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Pantlitz

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