A series of diversity events for students, business leaders and faith leaders was led by Operation Transformation, a Bluewater, Michigan, area church cooperative on September 19–21. Three workshops allowed community leaders to gather to discuss and identify ways to improve diversity efforts.
Hillside Wesleyan Church (HWC) of Clyde, Michigan, is a strong supporter of Operation Transformation and hosted the event. Rev. Bill Kinnan, HWC senior pastor, sits on the Operation Transformation board of directors.
Anthony Jones, vice-president of Enrollment Management at Howard University and president of RBD Management Consultants, presented at each event. Jones is a well-known diversity speaker.
Addressing business leaders, Jones said, “People, both customers and staff, make the bottom line growth for companies. The ability to gain insight into what is happening in the background of individuals and the context of their lives, and to have a deeper understanding of the people in an organization, or in your client and customer base — that’s powerful information.”
Jones’ final presentation was to key faith leaders. He provided understanding of diversity challenges and encouraged all churches, black and white, to embrace diversity.
Kinnan said Hillside was selected to host the event because the church is active in the community. The church is often used to host concerts and activities for community events. Kinnan’s involvement in the community also lends credibility to HWC in hosting the event.
“I participate in a weekly prayer meeting. Leaders of various ethnicities gather to pray over the community,” said Kinnan. “It was a natural bridge to host this event that included my prayer partners.”
“The speaker was excellent,” said Mark Prochazka, Hillside Wesleyan member and missions chair. “I love that we hosted this conference locally … so we can continue to network and dialog in our own community.”
The St. Clair County Health Department, St. Clair County Community Mental Health, Blue Water Community Action Agency and the Blue Water Area Churches Minister’s Association generously contributed to the event’s expense.