How One Deep South Church Left Segregation Behind

Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra | June 12, 2017


Elbert McGowan grew up five minutes from Trinity Presbyterian Church on the north side of Jackson, Mississippi. He passed by it daily. Never once did it cross his mind that one day he’d end up the pastor in that building. In fact, he never even considered entering the door.

That’s because the church was exclusively white, and McGowan is black.

Trinity was born in 1950, one year before 13 parents in Topeka filed what would become Brown v. Board of Education and five years before Rosa Parks would refuse to give up her bus seat. Many leaders of what would become the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) barred blacks from membership, defended white supremacist organizations, and taught that the Bible opposed interracial marriage and supported segregation.

The past is ugly, so much so that the PCA confessed and apologized for the actions of its leaders even though the denomination wasn’t formed until nine years after the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Set in an all-white neighborhood in north Jackson, Trinity wasn’t exempt. But as its white neighbors left for the suburbs and black neighbors moved in, Trinity didn’t budge.

One move, one church plant, and two pastors later…


To read the rest of this article, visit https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-one-deep-south-church-left-segregation-behind.