On/File: A Continuing Record of People, Groups, Movements, and Events Impacting Contemporary Religion

The Witness is an example of an online support group becoming an offline community. The group for black Christians feeling marginalized in their mainly white churches started on Facebook as The Reformed African American Network. It was meant to serve as an online resource for those opposed to how their predominantly white and evangelical churches approached such issues as Black Lives Matter, the Trump election, and the 2017 Charlottesville march. From there, a podcast and, more recently, nationwide tours and a conference were launched, with a publishing platform in the works, all giving shape to the idea of a “Black Christian collective.” Jemar Tisby, the president of the group, echoes other observers in saying that there has been a “quiet exodus” of blacks and other minorities from white churches over the 2016 election. He adds that “A lot of us feel lost; we’re looking for a community. We’re in between.” The rapid growth of the Witness may reflect a shift among black evangelicals from objectives of racial reconciliation to racial justice, though the organizers hold that both goals are important. (Source: Christianity Today, September 23)