Home Equipping Leaders Lay Ministry More than Allies: Justice, Faith, and a Place for All in the Struggle for Freedom

More than Allies: Justice, Faith, and a Place for All in the Struggle for Freedom

By David Teel

More than allies graphic 2
(Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, headed by Julian Bond, Atlanta, Georgia, March 1963. Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation)

A webinar with freedom fighter Bob Zellner and the Rev. Tex Sample.

DATE: Thursday, September 16, 2021
7 p.m. CST
Bob Zellner and the Rev. Tex Sample

How are we called to participate in God’s freedom work in the world? Pastors and laity sometimes wrestle with how ordinary people of faith can help create equity in a culture that privileges some and suppresses others based on race, gender, class, and other intersecting differences.

Join the Rev. Tex Sample for a live webinar featuring Civil Rights leader Bob Zellner. The son and grandson of Methodist pastors from L.A. (lower Alabama), Zellner is the subject of the new Barry Alexander Brown film, Son of the South, and author of the book, The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement (foreword by Julian Bond).

When we think about freedom fighters in the early 1960s, we often picture wise elders and seasoned pastors. But many of the most significant players in this struggle were young people with little leadership experience. Bob Zellner’s story as a layperson attending the Methodist school, Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, reminds us that the experiences of young freedom fighters nurtured in the church can help all of us rediscover how discipleship and social action align for a faithful commitment to the common good and a more just society.

Watch the video archive of this webinar:


Bob zellner headshot

Bob Zellner is an active leader in the ongoing work of the civil rights movement, from the early 1960s to the present day. The son and grandson of Methodist pastors (and Ku Klux Klan members), he risked his life—and nearly lost it—many times in the fight to achieve The Second Emancipation. As an organizer of The Freedom Rides of 1961 and the first white southerner to serve as field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he worked alongside Ella Baker, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, Rosa Parks, Diane Nash, Julian Bond, Fannie Lou Hamer and many other civil rights leaders. Famous for battles with the KKK, segregationist lynch mobs, and violent police, he is now one of the key individuals that a new generation turns to with questions on the racial, historical, and cultural assumptions on which they were raised, as they ask themselves, "What is my place in this struggle?"

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The Rev. Dr. Tex Sample is a United Methodist elder and marched from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. King. He is an expert on the culture of the working-class and an advocate for ministry with underrepresented folks. He retired after a long tenure at St. Paul’s School of Theology where he continues to serve on the board. Tex earned his PhD at Boston University and currently pastors a Methodist church in the Kansas City area. He also works as a community organizer with multiethnic groups advocating for better pay, benefits, and access to healthcare for working class and BIPOC.

David C. Teel is Director of Laity and Spiritual Leadership at Discipleship Ministries and a writer, editor, and Christian educator in Nashville, Tennessee. He studied at Vanderbilt Divinity School, serving United Methodist Churches since 1997.

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