Joy to the world

Hillsong Worship

On Saturday, June 22nd, Refuge hosted out FIRST service in honor of Juneteenth. Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. This service is a significant step forward in truly being a safe place for ALL PEOPLE to be unapologetically themselves! We want to be a place that allows people to embrace all the unique facets that makes them who they are.

Special Guest // Shari Armstrong.

We were honored to be able to hear from Shari Armstrong, an amazing journalist from Fox 4. Shari shared her experiences as a black professional in SWFL. Sharing a deep perspective on the challenges and triumphs that she has faced growing up in Fort Myers. She shared moments from middle and high school that shaped her understanding and acceptance of her “blackness.” One particularly moving story was about a hateful email she received on the air. This incident brought to light the pervasive issues of racism that are still present in our society. We astounded at the strength and courage she was able to find in such a painful moment. She was able to pick herself back up and continue to do her job, despite the emotions.

Thank you Shari, for your courage and honesty. For speaking to a room full of white people, boldly and confidently. Consequently, urging us to have difficult conversations, while reflecting on the experiences of people of color in our community.

Voices of Misfits

Following Shari’s pep-talk, we had a conversation with one of our very own Misfits! She shared deeply personal experiences with racism and faith. She spoke of her heart for Refuge Church and the allies she has found within our community. For instance, she spoke of the difference the unity she knew in Belize and some of the division she noticed in the United States. Her testimony reinforced the importance of creating a safe place where everyone is valued and loved.

The Future of Refuge

Our Juneteenth celebration was a small but significant step towards the transformation we envision for Refuge Church! We are committed to being a safe place because people can come as they are and be celebrated for who they are. We believe in embracing the fullness of each person’s identity. Furthermore, recognizing that everyone is beautifully and wonderfully made by God.

Refuge Church aims to see the humanity in all people. All the while, restoring people’s faith in humanity! We strive to live out the principles of Micha 6:8; which calls us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

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