Christian Service Mission works daily to connect churches. We have partnered Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in West End with Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Vestavia for more than ten years. These two churches serve and fellowship together, and their pastors have even traveled internationally together for missions! This month we hosted Shades Mountain Baptist Church’s youth group during spring break. Their week was filled with packing food boxes, delivering food boxes to the local community alongside Greater Shiloh, and cleaning up an area in Fultondale, AL, devastated by a recent tornado. SMBC youth was even able to partner with Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church youth group as well. CSM is incredibly thankful for both of these groups and their heart to serve the community together.

A special highlight of the week was hearing Janice Kelsey, author of “I Woke Up with My Mind on Freedom”, speak of her youth experience as a Black female in Birmingham, AL, during the Civil Rights Movement. SMBC and GSMBC youth groups learned about how racially segregated Birmingham’s city was during this time and all of the laws that separated the Black community from the white community. A Shades Mountain youth group student said that what shocked her the most during Mrs. Kelsey’s talk was her understanding that, “This is real, it really happened and not that long ago, and things like that still happen today!” Mrs. Kelsey shared about her decision to become a foot soldier in the Birmingham, Alabama Children’s Crusade to protest racial segregation. She went into detail about her experience of being arrested and jailed for protesting. A student said they learned this from the talk “She was able to take a stand for what she knew was right at such a young age, and it made a huge difference. When we stand for Jesus and do what is right and treat people with love and grace, we can make a huge difference, no matter what our age is!” At the end of the talk, Mrs. Kelsey encouraged the students to learn more about the racial tensions occurring in today’s world. She encouraged them also to get to know each other’s youth groups and build relationships. CSM is filled with joy that two of our racially diverse church partners have been able to join together in service and mission.

"It is a great reminder that no matter what side of town you live on or what color your skin is, we are all made in the image of God, and we are brothers and sisters in Christ. God calls us to love Him and love one another, and we can do that better together than we could apart!"

Student on how Mrs. Kelsey's talk changed her outlook on the world