New Baptist Covenant Stands in Solidarity with the African Methodist Episcopal Church,
Encourages Baptists to Participate in ‘Freedom from Racism Sunday’
Washington, D.C., June 24, 2015—The New Baptist Covenant (NBC) is joining with the National African American Clergy Network and standing in solidarity with the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) following the tragic events in Charleston, S.C. last week when hatred and bigotry led a gunmen to kill nine faithful members of Mother Emanuel AME Church as they gathered for prayer and Bible study. NBC is calling on Baptist churches to participate in “Freedom from Racism Sunday” on July 5, when many houses of worship across the nation will use the day after Independence Day celebrations to talk about freedom from racism and oppression.
NBC is also calling on Baptist churches to participate in “Freedom from Racism Sunday” by planning activities and collaborative actions, creating opportunities for dialogue and offering special prayers that coincide with the concerted efforts being organized by the AME Church. NBC will provide resources and templates to help churches plan their local events.
Dr. Otis Moss Jr. co-convener of the Freedom Sunday Coalition and advisor to the New Baptist Covenant movement spoke to our need for a time of prophetic grief in his June 23 sermon at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, IL. “Prophetic grief,” Moss said, “is different from pathetic grief. Pathetic grief is angry, mad, vicious, bitter, always blaming others. And then there is sympathetic grief, where we pass out sympathy but do not necessarily enter into the other person’s tragic moment. But then there is prophetic grief, where we stand inside of the other’s wounds, and hurt, and blood, and tears, and sorrow; so deeply that it becomes our own—that is prophetic grief.”
“The shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church has left us outraged and heartbroken,” said NBC Coordinator Hannah McMahan in a letter to partner churches on Sunday, June 21. “Once again, we are reminded how deeply the sin of racism runs in our society and the urgent need to redeem our broken communities from its cancerous clutches.” McMahan went on to say, “‘Freedom from Racism Sunday’ makes space for prophetic grief; a grief that will empower us to transform our communities and seek authentic reconciliation. NBC will stand in solidarity with the National African American Clergy Network and African Methodist Episcopal Church as we mourn the loss of our brothers and sister in Charleston and to recommit ourselves to the daily task of dismantling racism from our communities, from our churches, and from our hearts.”
Founded as a movement to break down the racial, cultural and theological barriers that have historically separated Baptists, NBC has been bringing together Baptist congregations from different backgrounds to worship and fellowship together as well as to work alongside one another in “Covenants of Action,” which address a pressing need in their community. Anchored in Luke 4:18-19, NBC pursues collective action that reconciles the Baptist family and transforms the communities where we live, serve and worship.