Holmeswood Baptist Church Partners with Community in KC Raw Series
Racism, Sex Trafficking, Foster Care, Education Now Open for Discussion
by Amanda S. Cherry
“We’re a different kind of Baptist,” says Pastor David McDaniel of the Holmeswood Baptist Church at 9700 Holmes Rd. Gone are the days of strict adherence to scripture with threats of fire and brimstone for even questioning the religion. In its place a more tolerant Jesus like acceptance of diversity. “I tell people we’re Baptist, but we’re really Baptist.”
The senior pastor of the church since January 1st, McDaniel wants to change the conversation the church has both internally and externally. McDaniel believes the church should ask more questions of its faith than provide answers that are banal, without much thought. McDaniel describes his church as being very diverse and inclusive of everyone. After conversations with the congregation, the senior leaders and community partners, a plan was formed to open the church as a safe place for the community to discuss community issues.
“It’s really within the church’s DNA that it doesn’t simply sit in the pews,” McDaniel explained. “We have more hands going out and doing and being, really than we do have people sitting in the pews. We really do try to create positive relationships with different groups. In our church we have all different kinds of people, to us the good welcome of God is very wide and very broad.”
KC Raw Conversation Wednesdays
The church is hosting four Wednesday night conversations on topics ranging from human trafficking to racism, to the foster care system and childhood education. The church is planning to have community leaders who are fluent on each subject give talks lasting about 30 minutes. But McDaniel is also planning to include a 10- to 15-minute organic dialogue at the end of each session for the community to participate in finding solutions for the issue.
“Jesus didn’t spend all his time in the Synagogues. He went out amongst the people whose voices had been silenced.” – Pastor David McDaniel
McDaniel will incorporate the topic of each Wednesday night’s presentation into his Sunday sermon. “I can see us as a church going very deep on one of these topics. We’ve talked about it, but I can see us doing more, maybe partnering with a community organization.”
The discussions, aptly titled KC Raw, will begin Wednesday, May 25th at 6:15 pm. The series will continue the following four Wednesdays; June 1st, 8th and 15th.
Human Trafficking in KC
The first topic being discussed is Human Trafficking. McDaniel connected with community leader Kris Wade executive director and co-founder of the Kansas City Justice Project.
The Kansas City Justice Project serves an at risk population of women, many of whom are trafficked through the Kansas City area, which is one of the largest communities for trafficking in the United States. The Kansas City Justice Project’s mission “…is to provide criminal justice and social systems advocacy and navigation for women in poverty who may be suffering from a multitude of challenges, including homelessness, discrimination, addiction, mental illness, domestic violence, prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation.”
But as Wade explains there is much more that community education, like the talk she will be giving at the church, can provide. “Everyone could have a part to play. For most people to become aware that it is something that occurs, globally, as well as locally. Just coming to the church to hear about it, helps. And if they see something that doesn’t look right, there are hotlines they can call. It’s about awareness.”
Wade further explains that human trafficking is a dangerous business to be involved in when advocating directly for its victims. Although she is pleased that the community is becoming aware of the issue, she hesitates to ask people to become directly involved unless they are professionally trained advocates or law enforcement. She plans to discuss the ways that the average person can help, such as advocating for changing the laws, donating to organizations working directly with victims and if nothing else giving needed items like personal hygiene products.
Wade believes the only way to prevent trafficking is to go after its consumers. “We’re never going to eradicate human trafficking,” she admits. “But we can make a significant dent to it within our own community.”
Traffickers will solicit victims from a Craigslist ad or from the gorilla technique, snatch a victim from off the street. – Kris Wade
Wade explains that there are as many kinds of trafficking as there are victims. She stresses that it isn’t always sex trafficking, but labor and domestic servitude are other types. She also stresses that it isn’t just women, runaways, or drug addicts who fall prey to human traffickers. Often victims come from good homes, are well educated, even men and boys are not immune to victimization. The media recently reported that human trafficking among middle class teenagers was on the rise. Traffickers will solicit victims from a Craigslist add or as Wade described the gorilla technique, snatch a victim from off the street. She stressed that no one is really immune to human trafficking.
Both Wade and McDaniel hope that the Wednesday night KC Raw conversations, open to the public, will start a much needed conversation in the community. Wade hopes that others will be inspired to hold such talks within their communities. Pastor McDaniel hopes for a more spiritual awakening.
“Jesus didn’t spend all his time, at the time, in the Synagogues. He went out amongst the people whose voices had been silenced,” says Wade. “We’re trying to bring voice to those who don’t have a voice right now. The purpose of the church is to get down with them, because that is the only way to help lift them up.”
KC Raw-Provocative Conversations, Raising Awareness
May 25: “Human Trafficking in KC” by Kris Wade-The Justice Project
June 1: “Facing Racism” by Dr. Terrell Carter-Director of Contextual Learning at Central Baptist Theological Seminary
June 8: “All Kids Need A Family-Foster Care” by Khadejah Fatima-Foster Care Mother
June 15: “Education’s Future?-Center School District” by Kelly Wachel-PR Director of Center School District