The coronavirus pandemic may have been called “our big war”, but Reverend Mike McBride of The Way Christian Center always saw the battle from a different angle: “a virus is just a part of our biological ecosystem. We have to contain it, but when our administration used the word war – that was the wrong response. We do not believe we are at war with a virus…we are called to be at peace with God and creation. The way we respond to these challenges and biological changes is through humanitarian efforts with radical love, radical charity, radical hospitality, radical generosity and even radical sacrifice…I believe that everyone can experience life and good health without making enemies of one another.”
Reverend McBride is a fervent social activist who is also the founder of national faith-based social justice organization Live Free that has launched campaigns against gun violence, voter suppression, mass incarceration and other societal ills. The organization’s latest humanitarian effort is in response to recent reports that African Americans have the highest risk for COVID-19. The Masks for the People initiative seeks to raise $1 million to purchase personal protective equipment for the elderly and essential workers in the most high-risk areas, including Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Indianapolis.
Live Free will work with pastors and sister networks in these cities to distribute the masks and make sure people are protected until the federal government can slow the virus down. Kamau Bell co-hosted an IG Live to kick off the campaign and Fox Soul will present a Super Sunday concert event on Easter Sunday to further promote Masks for the People. The Super Sunday concert will feature performances from Marvin Sapp, Jonathan McReynolds, Natalie Grant, Devon Franklin, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard and more. Erica Campbell, Brian Courtney Wilson and Bishop Noel Jones have been early supporters of the campaign.
“Because our tax dollars are not providing personal protection, we have to turn to one another and provide for each other…I think that black people and the black community and the black church is our most enduring charitable humanitarian institution…we work to leverage this infrastructure to save as many lives as we can,” says McBride, who sees social justice as part of “a broad expression of Christian stewardship of the earth.”
Reverend McBride, whose multicultural, interdenominational church has about 300 congregants, approaches social justice as an act of pastoral care as well. “Our members are suffering because of racism, human hierarchy, gun violence and so much more. I have to ask what is my responsibility to save not just the soul of the congregation but for the body?
“Eyes that love God love justice and mercy. This is an affirmation, not an addition to the Gospel that we preach…I believe we are to prepare people for not just the heaven that is to come but figure out how we create heaven here on earth for God’s children.”
The Fox Soul Super Sunday service will air April 12th on the Fox Soul app and website (www.foxsoul.tv) at 8 a.m. PST / 11 a.m. EST. It will repeat four times on the Fox Soul Platform. Viewers can support Masks for the People at www.livefreeusa.org/masksforthepeople.