As the fires smoldered across Los Angeles a year ago in the aftermath of the most destructive riot in United States history, the pulpits of the nearly 7,000 L.A. churches burned with oratorical fire. At African-American, white, Latino, and Korean churches, a collective mixed chorus of anger, grief, confusion, hope, and faith rose like incense alongside the smoke from countless destroyed stores in South Central, Pico Union, Crenshaw, and other neighborhoods throughout L.A. county.

A tense multi-ethnic meeting of numerous pastors called together by World Vision ended in repentance and forgiveness expressed in tears and embraces. Rabbi John Rosove of Temple Israel led 75 of his faithful to worship at Messiah Baptist Church, a black congregation. Churches played a vital role in becoming local hubs for relief efforts and as they admonished looters in their congregations to make restitution.

On the one-year anniversary of the disturbances, many wonder what has come of these and many similar efforts. Journalist Andres Tapia recently visited Los Angeles and filed a special news report that starts on page 42. His report reveals how the problems in urban America are deeply rooted and how they are complicated by economic, racial, and social factors.

This fall, Andres will be returning to the issue of race with an article, “What Black Christians Want White Christians to Know,” as we continue to explore ways for Christians to understand the meaning of racial reconciliation through God’s grace.

TIMOTHY C. MORGAN, Associate Editor

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