By: Kayleigh Clark, Lead Pastor at the Uniontown Free Methodist Church and Set Free Movement Leader
When I was in middle school, the Disney Channel phenomenon, “High School Musical” debuted
after a year of advertisement and hype. “We’re All In This Together,” was the moral of the story
told by Disney through basketball games and play practices. As cheesy as the dance moves
may have been, Disney was on to something. If I have learned anything from roughly a year of
urban ministry and seeking to engage in the work of Set Free, it is that we can accomplish more
when we know that we are all in this together.
In my particular context, it is not directly working with victims of trafficking or providing training
and education around the issue of human exploitation that we have been able to do. Rather we
have been working to protect and serve vulnerable communities in order to bring about
community change. We believe that by working to care for the most vulnerable, whether that
means families in poverty or victims of violence, we are also working to prevent trafficking within
those populations. However, this is no small task and one church or group cannot do it alone.
This summer the violence in our city skyrocketed. We experienced 4 fatal shootings in one
neighborhood. Caring for the families of the victims and creating space for lamenting was
something we knew God desired for us to do, and also knew this would require us to partner
with others. We joined other churches, the NAACP, and local community members to plan a
prayer vigil and time of remembrance. Around 100 people, including local government officials
and law enforcement and the families of each of the 4 victims, all came. Without the numerous
community members who partnered with us, we would not have been able to serve such a large
segment of our hurting community. We made an impact that evening as the neighborhood
witnessed churches, community organizations, law enforcement, and others working together
across racial and socioeconomic lines. It was the unity of the Kingdom coming to life, a unity
that brings freedom.