I spoke with the minister of FBC, Brian Henderson, this week to discuss the events that have happened in the political sphere over the last month. Henderson first asked me if I knew much about FBC — I told him I didn’t. The church is located at 1373 Grant St., just across from the Capitol building. Henderson explained that when he first came to FBC, the congregation was only about 15 people and the building was being underutilized. Today, there are numerous nonprofits that fill much of the church, and they’ve even opened a coffee shop called Spring Cafe.
The minister remarked that, as the cafe is only two blocks from the Capitol building, he’s seen many Colorado politicians and lawmakers come to debate and discuss government matters. Governor Hickenlooper and Mayor Hancock know the place well.
The Spring Cafe is run by the Spring Institute — a nonprofit that helps immigrants assimilate into Denver through language classes and job training, among other programs. The Spring Cafe employs immigrants to help them learn how to become a barista and obtain real-world skills that they can use to obtain a job here.
As a congregation, FBC is welcoming and accepting to all. “I haven’t had to debate or defend alt-right positions here. Our congregation realizes that these ideas are wrong … they’re just backwards. I do think that part of [the reason] is that we are located in an urban area,” Henderson surmises. “I think we will only do more harm — not just to ourselves, but to everyone — if we encourage this victim/perpetrator mentality. I think we need to work hard at bringing people together. We need to work hard at modeling a level of respect and dignity for others that we want to see.”
Moving forward, Henderson sees FBC’s goal for 2017 to mean building a space where community-building can happen and be encouraged.
“A relationship is really a relationship when you can sit with and get to know someone — where you don’t necessarily agree. A relationship is a connection between at least two individuals where there is a sense of safety and he or she or they can be who they are and not be dismissed. If FBC can encourage that sense of community, I want to think we are doing our part here on Capitol Hill.”
FBC wants to focus on one-on-one, real relationships where understanding takes place. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing — what’s best for our families, our friends, our children, and our neighbors. We all yearn for a better tomorrow. As Henderson stated, “The good news for everyone is that we are all human beings together. We all have a stake in tomorrow. If we don’t figure out how to get along with each other, we are only going to find ourselves in perpetual conflict. I think that the faith communities, the OUT FRONT community, the Center, our government representatives … I think we have the ingredients to encourage a sense of community. Not one of antagonism, but more of, ‘What can we do to make this city a better place?’ Let’s have the audacity to believe we have what is needed to make this a beautiful community.”
First Baptist Church will host a Christmas Eve service on Saturday, Dec. 24th at 7pm. There will not be a Sunday Christmas service.