Praise Report and a Call to Action

from STLRN Founder & President, Dave Gustafson

First of all, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who joined us Saturday, February 10, for the 2nd annual "HeARTS for Racial Reconciliation," held at STL ArtWorks, 5959 Delmar Blvd.

The evening featured keynote remarks from Brent Roam, lead pastor at U City Family Church, a thriving multi-ethnic church located on Delmar Blvd. Brent gave a powerful talk: “The Power of the Gospel to Change Hearts & Minds on Race,” for which he earned a well-deserved standing ovation.

Other speakers included Bernie Sammons (STLRN Board Member, representing West County's Social Justice 4 All team), Marie Kenyon (Peace & Justice Commission, STL Archdiocese), Mark Mantovani (STL businessman and County Exec candidate), and Susan Reid (Principal, Compton-Drew Middle School).

Dinner (very tasty and nutritious!) and drinks were provided by Hendri's, and desserts were provided by Sweet Art. Sweet Art features the artwork of Cbabi Bayoc, who also joined us for the evening -- bringing several examples of his work. We had fun raffling off one of his paintings at the end of the evening. The very deserving winner was Pastor Chris Keating, of Woodlawn Chapel Presbyterian (Ballwin), the church that first hosted our Jn17 “Multiethnic Conversations” class way back in early 2015.

At the end of the evening, I briefly told the group about a new project that STLRN is launching in partnership with STL ArtWorks, a mural entitled Corda de Memoria (Latin for “hearts of remembrance”). The mural will contain the names and photos of recently deceased young people from around the STL region, along with the date and cause of their untimely passing: accident, illness, overdose or violence. Ironically, just a couple of hours later, a close friend of mine lost her 11-year-old grandson, Sammy, in a violent murder-suicide. Sammy’s name will be on the mural, sadly joining hundreds of others. May this carnage end soon.