The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will host the Little Rock Race and Faith Summit on Wednesday, Nov. 2.
The free summit for congregation leaders in Arkansas will take place from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at UA Little Rock Downtown, 333 President Clinton Ave. Members of the Little Rock Congregations Study will share their research with faith leaders in Arkansas as well as some resources they created to help clergy engage in faith-based racial justice work.
Dr. Rebecca Glazier, a professor in the School of Public Affairs and the director of the Little Rock Congregations Study, said that they have always been guided by what’s important to the community.
“In 2019, we hosted a Religious Leaders Summit and asked the faith leaders of Little Rock what issues matter most and what we should be focusing on,” Glazier said. “Because of what we learned at that summit, our research team has spent more than two years studying race and faith. We are excited to share what we have learned, provide resources for congregations, and give clergy leaders a space to connect with one another.”
In a 2020 study of nearly 2,300 people from 35 diverse congregations across Little Rock, researchers found that the No. 1 issue participants wanted their congregation to do something about was race relations. Further research with clergy members found that 88 percent of them said that Little Rock has a problem with racial division, while 64 percent believe race relations will get better and that clergy are in a position to help make that happen.
The event’s featured speakers include Dr. Preston Clegg, pastor of Second Baptist Church Downtown and 2022 recipient of the McCall Racial Justice Trailblazer Award from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas, and Dr. Philip Pointer, pastor of Saint Mark Baptist Church, the largest Black Protestant church in Arkansas. They will discuss the connection between race and faith in Little Rock.
During the summit, participants will connect with and share a catered lunch with faith leaders from diverse backgrounds, listen to stories of success and hope from across the city, receive free resources, and commit to take steps in their own congregations and lives to help Little Rock move forward.
“Some 25 years ago, city leaders said people of faith should address the issue of race,” said Dr. Gerald Driskill, a professor of applied communication and Little Rock Congregations Study researcher. “The community is tired of just talk and events. Leaders will leave this summit with an action plan informed by current models being used in and beyond Arkansas.”
Congregation leaders may register for the free event via ualr.at/summit. The summit is made possible by an academic grant from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, as well as generous support from faith communities in Arkansas.