July 1, 2015
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
We are deeply disturbed by the recent rash of yet to be explained fires at African American churches in the Southeastern part of our country. In the past two weeks, there have been fires at seven churches. While the fires are still being investigated, at least two have already been deemed arson. These church burnings remind us of our urgent need for racial reconciliation and transformation. We are still grieving the loss of our co-laborers who were murdered at Mother Emanuel AME Church at the hands of a white supremacist, and now we are faced with the possibility that violence and hatred are once again wreaking havoc and destruction in our communities.
Indeed, as we approach Independence Day this Saturday, we are painfully aware of the many ways that we continue to be bound by violence, hatred and bigotry. Luke 4:18-19 lets us know that God’s purpose and plan for us is to be free from all bondage—including that which is systematic in our society. As God’s people who are committed to the ministry of reconciliation, it is time for us to take a bold stand against the cancer of racism that continues to plague our communities and devour the soul of our nation.
NBC is in conversation with those who have been victimized by the church burnings and is formulating a response. We will be taking action to support our brothers and sisters who have been impacted by this violence. In addition, we have posted resources on our website in support of “Freedom from Racism Sunday,” an effort being led by the National African American Clergy Network and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. These resources include sermon helps, a litany, prayers, hymns and scriptures that could be used as part of Sunday worship services. We encourage you to participate in this specially designated Sunday as we join other Christians across the country on one accord to commit to end the sin of racism.
Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Let us continue to pray for healing, reconciliation and transformation and be steadfast in taking action so that we end racism and transform our communities for God’s glory.