Nationwide, religious headlines focus on a dwindling and ever-more elderly church-going population. Many Christian communities attribute the shift to a spike in agnosticism, or the disintegration of traditional family values. Brooklyn-based pastor Lenny Duncan sees something else at work: a lack of diversity in the church leadership and messaging feeding a lack of enthusiasm and vitality in the congregation.  

In “Dear Church: A love Letter Form a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S.,” on sale now from Fortress Press, Duncan makes a case for the kind of radical acceptance he believes has the power to inject new life into a shrinking church. 

A high school dropout, former drug dealer and sex worker who was once incarcerated, Duncan is now a speaker, activist, author and pastor at Jehu’s Table in East New York. The church he leads is part of the whitest sect in America — the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Duncan uses his vast life experience to inject each sermon with empathy and humor, and to motivate his congregation to see the good and possibility in others.  

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