Sanford and Ocoee have tried what other cities only talk about: bridging the divide between black and white. In 1999, Ocoee created its West Orange Racial Reconciliation Task Force. In 2012, black and white pastors formed Sanford Pastors Connecting following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
“The ultimate answer to healing and redeeming the world will not come from any government policy change—it will only come from a personal heart change,” says Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed.
During Dr. Hunter’s tenure, which began in 1985, Northland has grown from 200 faithful souls to a Florida-based congregation of 20,000 that worships worldwide via the Web.
He has become an internationally known advocate for peace, for the poor, for victims of human trafficking, for protecting God’s creation for the sake of victims of pollution-caused climate change, for the inclusion in church and society of families/persons dealing with disabilities, and for racial equality and reconciliation.
Dr. Hunter is the Chairman of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, a Florida-based nonprofit organization leading the Central Florida effort to end homelessness.