Disciples have a presence in public forums
“I consider the sufferings of this present time not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” Romans 8:18 – 19. NRSV
Dear beloved Disciples,
We are hurting.
We are haunted and outraged by the anguished cries of George Floyd, the gasp of “I can’t breathe” as a police officer knelt on his neck until the breath was completely taken from him. Floyd’s murder, like that of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery in recent weeks, is just the latest in a long history of violence against Black and Brown people in our country. The protests that are happening in big cities and small towns across the nation are an outpouring of grief and anger born of centuries of pain and injustice.
As members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), we condemn this injustice. We weep not only for George Floyd, but for the entire system of oppression that has kept us from seeing each other as beloved children of God.
Racism and the denial of human dignity is counter to the call of Jesus Christ. Racism is a sin that breaks the heart of God.
Disciples, we call ourselves a Pro-Reconciling, Anti-Racist church. We have named it as a mission priority, and we have worked hard – though often imperfectly – to live that out in every expression of our ministry. In this moment, when protests rage and our hearts are broken again and again, we need to be the church we say we are.
We know that this moment calls for more than statements and prayers. In this moment, God is calling us to act.
We invite you to accept this call to action in one or more of these ways:
- Add your name to this statement affirming your commitment to Pro-Reconciliation and Anti-Racism as a mission priority of our church. (form below)
- Educate yourself about the history of systemic racism in this country and the ways racial injustice impacts every bit of our life together, from education and health care to jails and courtrooms and financial institutions. There are many good resources for learning; we’ve consolidated some of them HERE and will keep this page updated regularly.
- Sign up to participate in the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington: A Digital Justice Gathering on June 20, 2020. This event is part of an effort that seeks to address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism and poverty, and Disciples have been key leaders in this movement.
- Join in town hall discussions hosted by Disciples leaders about how the church can do more to help dismantle systems of racism. These virtual gatherings will be held later this summer; be sure to sign up for Disciples News Service email updates for more information.
- Get to work in your own community or church. Each context is different, so work where you are and with what you have. We want to hear from you about what you’re doing. Send a photo, video, or short paragraph describing what you’re doing to [email protected], or tag us on social media (Facebook and Instagram: @christianchurchdoc; Twitter: @DisciplesNews) with #ccdoc. We’ll share those stories here so we can support and inspire one another in this hard, holy calling.
Something is happening right now, Church, and the Spirit of God is moving in it. May we be bold enough to join the work.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President
Rev. April Johnson, Minister of Reconciliation
Yes, I affirm our Disciples commitment to being a pro-reconciling, anti-racist Church.
|Name||Congregation Name||City, State|
|Rev. Dawn Barnes||Central Christian Church, Indianapolis||Indianapolis, IN|
|Janet Anderson||The Welcome Table Christian Church||Arlington, Texas|
|Rev. Paul Appleby||First Christian Church of Lawton||Lawton, Oklahoma|
|Dr. Gilberto Collazo||Iglesia Cristiana Casa del Alfarero||Indianapolis, Indiana|
|Rev. Leah Jackson||Ray of Hope Christian Church||Decatur, GA|
|Rev. Patricia Donahoo||Fairhill Manor||Indianapolis, IN|
|Rev. Lisa Reshad||Washington Avenue Christian Church||Oberlin, OH|
|Rev. Kyle Brown||Geist Christian Church||Indianapolis, IN|
|Rev. Randy Johnson||Tapestry Church||Greenwood, IN|
|Rev. Janna Preston||Northside Christian Church||Knozville, TN|
|Rev. Dean Phelps||New Union Christian Church||Versailles, KY|
|Rev. Eric Brotheridge||First Christian Church - Kokomo, Indiana||Kokomo, Indiana|
|Rev. Thomas McCracken||University Christian Church||Fort Worth, TX|
|Richard Sherman||North Chevy Chase Christian Church||Chevy Chase, MD|
|Dr. Teresa Dulyea-Parker||First Christian Church||Bloomington, IL|
|Rev. Debbie Shields||Hopwood Memorial Christian Church||Johnson City, TN|
|Rev. John Williams||Middletown Christian Church||Louisville, Kentucky|
|Dr. Tom Stephenson||First Christian Church||Wilmington, OH|
|Dr. Judy Ridlen||University Place Christian Church||Champaign, Illinois|
|Rev. James Gawne||First Christian Church||Greensboro, NC|
|Tom Cupka||First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)||Auburn, IN|
|Rev. Heidi Barham||Ledgewood Christian Church||Cleveland, Ohio|
|Rev. Brian Nelson||First Christian||Lafayette, Indiana|
|Rev. Mary Lu Johnston||Reach Beyond Mission||Austin, Texas|
|Dr. THOMAS LYDA||FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH||PONCA CITY, OKLAHOMA|
|Dr. David Mellott||Christian Theological Seminary||Indianapolis, IN|
|Mrs. Deanna Bradley||First Christian Church||Ashland, KY|
|Dr. Leslie Taylor||First Christian Church||Concord, California|
|Ann Clabaugh||Ione Community Church||Ione, Oregon|
|Jeff Clabaugh||Ione Community Church||Ione, Oregon|
|Rev. Lee Hull Moses||Central Christian Church||Indianapolis, Indiana|
|Ms. Cherilyn Williams||Federated Church||WEST LAFAYETTE, IN|
|Name||Congregation Name||City, State|
Bruce Fowlkes says
Thank you for offering us this faith-community opportunity. It came as a much needed time for me. I’ve never had such a strong, haunting, emotional response to a moment caught on film. I’ve never witnessed a public execution of an American, by another American, on American soil. That image of George Floyd with the knee of an officer, sworn to protect and serve, crushing George Floyd’s neck with such casual efficiency, with bystanders trying to help George Floyd held at bay by more sworn officers, while George Floyd struggled to beg for his life, is permanently seared in my memory. It reminded of how another photo that emotionally scared me as a child: the summary execution of Nguyễn Văn Lém in 1968 by a police chief in Vietnam. If a press photographer and a network news cameraman had not documented that moment, it would not have seared into the conscience of Americans, pushing forward the anti-war movement.
Bill Thompson says
It’s time to insist that our federal and local elected officials take a stand instead of just talking and actually pass laws that will protect people from the police brutality that has become normalized.
Gerry Miller says
This is a long overdue problem that hangs heavy over our nation, our thoughts and our hearts
We have not come far enough to fight racism that divides our country. Police anger management needs to be addressed when citing citizens. And justice needs to prevail.
David Grandgeorge says
Many white Christians think we do not have a problem with racism and still deny white privilege. We must be in conversation about our anti-racism mission. Non-whites wake up in a white world in America every day. A modest proposal, let Christians of all colors and origins join in this conversation. We can work out from there.
Rev Katherine Bryant Graves says
I’ve usually been proud of our church but now my blessing cup is spilling over! Thank you, Terri Hord Owens for your inspired leadership and collaborative spirit!! I feel a new wind is blowing thru our church! And I forward your messages to the church I serve and my adult children who do good work in their chosen vocations to heighten awareness of the sins of systemic racism and the other “isms” that destroy our common vulnerability. It’s great to show we are joining in that struggle as a church! Praise be to God!
Kerry Kesey says
Thank you for your leadership and blessings on your ministries.
Nancy Stahl says
Thank you for this much needed statement. I’m glad I finally was able to sign up. I tried to follow the link several times throughout the day before I finally got here. Hopefully others who tried earlier are also persistent.
Richard Bierce says
Thank you for the opportunity to reaffirm our moral obligation to overcome and eradicate racism in all of its evil forms and to assert solidarity with every one of its victims of all colonies and race. Amen.
Virginia Jones says
Liberty and justice for all. Black lives matter. Too many times the misdeeds of officers have been covered up by fellow officers. Chokeholds and knees on the neck need to be forever outlawed. The arrest must never be more violent than the crime. They say do not resist, cooperate and you will be OK, however even those who don’t resist are thrown to the ground, tazed, beaten or held down in chokeholds. The poor of all colors are in danger of the same thing that happened to George Floyd. He died for passing a counterfeit bill that he probably did not know was counterfeit.
Sentencing and punishment must be changed. How can there be justice for all when the rich can hire a lawyer and get an out of court settlement avoiding jail. The poor cannot do this, the public defender is only available when you appear before the court, then they go to jail and lose what little they have. This is not equal justice. There is one for those with money and another system for the rest.
Linda Dawson says
I have come to the conclusion that black lives matter more to just about everyone except the Black Lives Matter organization. Where is their outrage at black owned small businesses destroyed, or the killing of the black former police chief in St. Louis or the lives lost every single weekend in Chicago with a Mayor who doesn’t seem to care. These things don’t fit their mission of bringing down capitalism and defunding the police. This organization needs to have a deeper look into its perhaps nefarious intent.