In 1969, Thomas Jones led 100 Black students to protest for civil rights at Cornell University. A month later, the school president resigned. A year later, Jones earned a master’s degree and organized a Black studies program at the school. He later went into business and became president of a huge pension fund. The school then appointed him to their board of Trustees. As a trustee, Jones set up a $25,000 endowment. It would reward anyone who fostered “interracial understanding and harmony.” He named it the James Perkins Prize after the president who had to resign 26 years before. Reconciliation is what the Apostle Paul urged among God’s people when he wrote the letter of Ephesians. He wrote, “As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. This is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.” Sadly, some of God’s people have yet to understand that a local church is not a social club. It is not just for people who are racially or culturally alike. It is the local expression of body of Christ. It welcomes everyone whom God has redeemed by faith in Jesus Christ.
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