Aug 17, 2017

My Dear Beloveds,

I intended to write to you today expressing my gratitude for our lovely family vacation; for your generosity in allowing me to take time for rest and recreation; about how recreation is God’s way of re-creating us; and how I hope you are all finding rest, relation, and re-creation during this time as well.  (And all this is still true.)

But in the wake of the horrific events in Charlottesville this past week, my heart and attention are elsewhere.  I know I am not alone in my feelings of deep sadness, outright anger, and regret at the scenes of racism, white supremacy, and violence that have flooded our nation. Friends, this is not a time we can be silent or look the other way.  In times like these, the church must speak out.  As followers of the way of Jesus Christ, we are called to use our voices firmly, fiercely, and loudly against the voices of hate and blatant evil.

Our denomination has done just that.  Four top leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) issued a statement condemning white supremacy and racism. General Assembly co-moderators Jan Edmiston and T. Denise Anderson, Presbyterian Mission Agency Interim Executive Director Tony De La Rosa, and General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II praised the “faithful witness” of church leaders, especially those in Charlottesville, and acknowledged that “Scripture has been misused to justify white supremacy and racism.”

In the statement, these leaders acknowledge the church’s complicity and failure to challenge and disrupt white supremacy and racism.  They declare that “White supremacy and racism stand in stark, irreconcilable contradiction to God’s intention for humanity” and acknowledge the church’s historic complicity in systemic racism in the U.S. And the leaders commit the church to “stand against, speak against and work against racism and white supremacy, this day and every day.”

Click here for the full text of their statement and a separate statement from Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson II:

I am grateful for the leadership of our denomination.  I am grateful for the leadership of the church leaders in Charlottesville. I am so grateful for the leaders of our little church.  And I am grateful to be walking alongside each and every one of you in mission and ministry.  Let us join our voices to stand up for what is right and against what is wrong.  Let us be the Church together. This is literally what we are here for.

With you in God’s unending mercy and love,