Letter to the editor: A pastoral message

To the editor:

This letter is a public confession. We confess that we have too often kept silent while our Black and brown neighbors waited for us to speak up. We confess that we have not declared that Black lives matter in unequivocal terms. We have permitted racism to fester in our congregations and communities without calling it by name. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

The Apostle Paul urges the earliest Christians to not conform to the patterns of this world, but to be transformed (Romans 12:2). We confess that we have too readily conformed to racist patterns. And we repent, which is to say we commit to the hard and holy process of transformation.

Racism in all its guises is sin. It separates us from God and from one another. Naming the sin of racism is the first step toward repentance, but it should not end there. For us, true repentance means that we turn more faithfully toward the path of Jesus. Following Jesus means we offer ourselves to the work of transformation.

Placing our trust in God’s power for life, we speak now against the death-dealing power ofracism, and we commit ourselves to work for transformation toward justice. That work will look different for each of us — in our own lives, in our churches, in our community involvement. We commit to doing that work to the best of our ability, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and by the grace of God.

In peace,

The Rev. Valerie Miller-Coleman, senior pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church;

The Rev. Joanna Harader, pastor, Peace Mennonite Church;

The Rev. Carolynn Winters-Hazelton, campus minister, Ecumenical Campus Ministries;

The Rev. Matthew Sturtevant, senior pastor, First Baptist Church

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