I am writing this as a pastoral and prophetic word as one who is called to lead our community in our common witness to proclaim the Gospel in season and out and to encourage our members to raise up their important voice in pursuit of becoming a vital part of the Beloved Community.
For some time now, I have been searching for the best words to express a helpful and coherent response to the dangerous and polarizing rhetoric that has run rampant in our country and culture…
Two years ago, the Synod of the Northeast partnered with two very different congregations in a project we called “Undoing Racism.” The original partners were the Rendall Memorial Presbyterian Church, an historic a African American congregation in Harlem, New York, and First Presbyterian Church in Morristown, NJ, an historic, majority white congregation. Recently this initiative has included the First Presbyterian Church in Rutherford, NJ as well.
These congregations have made deep and lasting covenants to learn, worship, and fellowship together in order to undo the bonds of racism. It was my privilege to share the Word with these saints last Sunday, June 3rd. Here is the sermon and a few photos of this beautiful event…
As with many of you, I have become weary and sad at the constant flow of hateful speech and racist rhetoric from our president and his followers. The daily barrage of these words, and devastating actions that follow them, leaves me exhausted and wondering how to best use my public voice in ways that don’t simply add to the constant flood of exchanges around them.
This morning as I rise from morning prayer there is a fire in my bones that I cannot quench. It rises from the deepest part of my spirit and compels me to speak a word that makes it clear that there are regular episodes of our current president’s behavior that are undeniably immoral and contrary to the teachings of Jesus.
We also investigated the important role that our own complicity in systems of oppression present, and the need for majority-white communities in mainline congregations to engage in significant pre-discernment and power analysis before beginning Sanctuary in all its forms. Communities who are directly affected by policing, anti-immigrant, religious and racial bias need to be given primary voice in all conversations and actions we engage as people of faith.