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What was he was going to do if more of "them" tried to join their church?"One man asked me if I was prepared for a hostile takeover," says Sheppard, pastor of Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mountain View, California."It was invaluable, but I didn't know it at the time." When he became pastor of Wilcrest in 1992, he was determined to shield his church members from such an experience.But an exodus of whites, commonly referred to as "white flight" was already taking place in the neighborhood and the church. At least one church member suggested that Woo could change the church's fortunes by adding a "d" to his last name.De Young, who is also an ordained minister, once led an interracial congregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that eventually went all-black.He defines an interracial church as one in which at least 20 percent its membership belongs to a racial group other than that church's largest racial group. "I was worn out from the battles." The men and women who remain and lead interracial churches often operate like presidential candidates.
He leads a congregation of blacks, whites and Latinos.
They argue that churches should be interracial whenever possible because their success could ultimately reduce racial friction in America.
American churches haven't traditionally done a good job at being racially inclusive, scholars say.
"People said that if Jews, Greeks, Africans, slaves, men and women - the huge divides of that time period -- could come together successfully, there must be something to this religion," De Young says.
Biblical precedents, though, may not be enough to make someone attend church with a person of another race.
He attended an all-black high school growing up in Port Arthur, Texas, where he still remembers what it was like to be a minority.