When Facing Challenges, Pastor Stephen Looks for Opportunities | Shelbyville Multimedia

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Adapted from the film Welcome to Shelbyville
directed and produced by Kim A. Snyder

When Facing Challenges, Pastor Stephen Looks for Opportunities

Ever since the filming of Welcome to Shelbyville, Pastor Stephen has been in touch with like-minded folks in the surrounding area about these issues. “Within an hour of Shelbyville there are various counties that are dealing with similar issues,” he explained.  Pastor Kent Lewis of Christ Lutheran Church in Shelbyville partnered with the local Episcopal priest and Church to produce a series of workshops for Lent that created an opportunity for the community to learn about Islam. He has used Welcome to Shelbyville in large conference settings with success so he and Pastor Stephen have discussed getting youth groups from both of their churches together to see it.

The resistance to open dialogue is one of Pastor Stephen’s biggest challenges. “There is a lot of misunderstanding that leads to anger,” he explained, and a lot of the time we make a boogey man out of those who are different and strike out in fear and anger instead of getting to know and listen to understand who they are.” He would really like to see more open discussion about these issues. “Most of the time, those that disagree keep it to themselves and then I hear about it second or third hand. That makes it hard to engage.”

Pastor Stephen expressed his support for Shelbyville Multimedia. “It’s great. It’s informative. It’s easy to navigate. This whole thing has really been a fascinating process,” he said. “I’m just the face of people behind the scenes who are doing a lot to be welcoming to immigrants and refugees and they deserve a lot of credit.” We wish Pastor Stephen well in his efforts to keep conversations going in Shelbyville. Every small step counts!

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