Our session has been praying over recent national events that have once more brought to light the presence of racist ideology and practice in our country. We have been in conversation about our response to this, and from this conversation we have created a statement that expresses the anti-racist stance we embrace and invite you to do the same. We offer this humbly recognizing that none of us are without fault in this, that silence in the face of wrong is also wrong, and that simply declaring a position of non-racism is an insufficient response for dismantling the structures of racist ideation in our community and nation. We are compelled to identify as anti-racist and to make this an inviolable component of our congregation. Here then, is the statement:
"We affirm that all persons are created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27) and are thus equally valued and loved by God. The diversity present in humankind is inherent in God’s creative design who called the creation of humankind “very good.” Race is not a criterion for determining God’s favor as God delights in all and is glorified in all (Rev. 7:9). We also affirm that humankind is universally corrupted by sin, and that among its corrupting effects is the universal turn towards self which manifests personally by individual estrangement from God, and corporately which manifests as elevating one’s own race as the standard by which all others are measured resulting in estrangement from others of a different race.
A majority race leveraging its power—economic, legislative, justice—against others by virtue of race alone engages in racism which devalues the humanity of “the other,” robbing them of the dignity and respect inherent in their God-given humanity. Racism, therefore, is a sin against God and against humanity. Where this exists, the people of God are obliged to identify it as such, to stand in solidarity with those victimized by it, to render whatever assistance it can to remedy the wrong it causes, and to actively engage in dismantling the structure of racist ideation and policy (Micah 6:8).”
As part of our commitment towards living into this statement, session invites our worshipping community to engage with them in the “21 Day Racial Justice Challenge” developed by the PC(USA) as a means to listen, understand, lament, and engage in meaningful response towards dismantling the structure of racism in ourselves, in our wider community, our nation, and indeed the world so that the vision of God for the flourishing of humankind and harmony with all might be realized in the world God loves.
The challenge is scheduled to begin on Monday, July 5. Part of the challenge will include a weekly discussion group via Zoom. If you would like to facilitate one of these groups, please connect with me right away so that I can include you. We will send out the challenge materials to those who are interested in joining us. Let us know of your interest by sending your name and preferred email contact to . I recognize that even in a congregation of our size, we’re all over the map on this subject in terms of our awareness, experience, and understanding of it. Let me assure you that our participation in this is not in service of shaming or inducing guilt, but to inform and gain understanding together. Also know that our hopes for this are not simply to build knowledge or assuage feelings, but to purposefully engage as allies with those who have suffered under systemic racism and ideology, to partner with those working against it, and to intentionally make our faith community more welcoming to diversity. Prayerfully consider your participation and invite the Spirit of Christ to prepare your heart for this journey.
This Sunday, we’re returning to the passage we considered last week to discover more revealed in the dialogue between Jesus and the Teacher of the Law. If you missed last week, you can catch up on our website by viewing the message there. Or, you can catch the entire service from last week on our FB page under videos. These are challenging times, but we belong to a God who is bigger than all our challenges combined. Continue to love the Lord your God with every fiber of your being—the rest will flow out of this. I look forward to engaging with you Sunday!