MIFA Interfaith Blog

After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968, economic, social, and racial divisions threatened to tear Memphis apart. A diverse group of community and faith leaders came together and MIFA was created to confront the issues of poverty, hunger, and social division through service.

2020 brought another crisis to Memphis. In a series of blogs, some of our current-day faith leaders have taken time to express their visions and hopes on healing and coming out of the pandemic better and stronger as a community.

Different Does Not Mean Deficient

The month of March in the year 2020 will forever be a turning point in the sense of normalcy that we enjoyed, both globally and personally. Our attitudes and opinions regarding the necessary adjustments for sustaining life, our institutions, and our hopes for a better world were met with hesitancy, anguish, resistance, and outright disdain. Yet, whether you accepted or denied the requests and requirements to engage new behaviors of social distancing, mask-wearing, limited contact, and thorough handwashing, one must admit their necessity or at least acknowledge the harsh reality that comes from their neglect. As we reflect on the past 16 months, we have all had to deal with the anxiety of uncertainty, the loss of loved ones and friends in addition to the limitations on our personal, societal, and institutional norms. The sobering reality of what we have gone through is that life as we knew it will not return. However, this truth does not have to be devastating, it can actually be quite liberating.

The path ahead is yet being paved with new levels of creativity and a renewed collective resolve. As believers in God, who created everything out of nothing, we are called to be creative and innovative in this new season. There are opportunities to serve and connect with our community that have presented themselves, which may not have been embraced or even thought of in the pre-pandemic era. Yes, things will be a little different, but that does not mean that they will be deficient. The commitment made by the citizens of Memphis to not only be a healthy community, but a vibrant community is challenging, but also exciting. A wise person once said that life should not be lived in the rear-view mirror, but fully embraced via a wonderful windshield of possibilities. It is indeed possible to emerge as a more connected, creative, and kind community. The pandemic has given us another commonality that brings us closer together in our understanding of the human experience. 

We have learned how to do old things in new ways and how to embrace new things to meet the needs and solve the problems of our neighbors. While the pandemic may have proven to be an obstacle to our way of life, it has produced many new opportunities for a better tomorrow.  

It is with optimistic resolve, a fortified faith, and divine determination that we must seize the moment that is before us. 

As a member of the faith community, I truly believe that hope springs eternal. With God, all things are possible, and the scriptures tell us that there is nothing too hard for our God. Let us collectively opens our minds and hearts for a fantastic future. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, in his campaign for the presidential nomination, where he paraphrased a line from George Bernard Shaw’s play Back To Methuselah, when he said, “Some men see things as they are and say why; I dream things that never were and say why not.” There are connections that can be forged even while at a distance and services that can be rendered while yet remaining safe. Let’s dream again, let’s imagine once more, because there is plenty of life beyond the mask.

Rev. Dr. Byron C. Moore
Senior Pastor at St. Andrew A.M.E. Church

About Rev. Dr. Byron C. Moore

Rev. Dr. Byron C. Moore is the Senior Pastor of the Saint Andrew African Methodist Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Rev. Moore is a native of Detroit, Michigan. He is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, North Carolina with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. He holds a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio; and was bestowed the Honorary Doctorate degree from the Tennessee School of Religion; and has course work completed in the Doctor of Ministry degree at Ashland Theological Seminary with an emphasis on Transformative Leadership.

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