Freedom from Racism Sunday

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The New Baptist Covenant calls on our movement to participate in ‘Freedom from Racism Sunday.’ Led by the National African American Clergy Network in concert with African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Further worship materials from the National African American Clergy Network and African Methodist Episcopal Church will be coming shortly.

Read Letter from Hannah McMahan

Worship Resources

Worship Resources for Freedom from Racism Sunday.

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Get the Freedom from Racism Flyer

Promote Freedom from Racism Sunday.

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Additional Worship Resources

Further worship materials from the National African American Clergy Network and African Methodist Episcopal Church will be coming shortly.

Coming Soon

Statement from Dr. T. Dewitt Smith

Racism is not dead. The tragic deaths of Pastor, Senator Rev. Clementa Pinckney, and the eight other saints of the LORD who were brutally and viciously murdered in Mother Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. while they were studying God’s Word and praying together, is a clear signal to our nation that there is more work to be done to eradicate this evil in our midst. The killer intended to “start a race war.” But, instead, we must start a conversation and do the necessary work to end racism once and for all. We must learn to have intentional conversations about the things that keep us divided, work earnestly toward racial reconciliation, and, indeed, worship together as brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ. We have to learn how to live as men, women and children in our society without hatred dominating in our hearts. The same color of blood runs through our veins: red. We have to begin to treat one another based on this fact and, most importantly, the fact that all people have been created in the image and likeness of God.

The National African American Clergy Network, for which I am a co-chair, in concert with our A.M.E. brothers and sisters, as well as other faith-based and community organizations, have joined together to do our part in addressing the racist ills that devalue human life in our nation. We are grateful for the efforts already being taken to remove racist symbols and root out racist ideologies. We applaud the admirable move by Governor Nikki Haley to remove the confederate state flag from the State Capitol grounds in South Carolina. We also celebrate other southern governors and general assemblies exploring similar actions. The confederate flag is divisive and allowing it to continue to fly at the State Capitol can only delay the important conversations about improving race relations that we need to have now. We urge these legislative bodies to vote to have these flags removed as a first step toward healing. In addition, we are asking churches to come together in communities across this nation and work together to end racism.

Sadly, we must also call on churches of every hue and kind to put into operation safety measures to keep our worshippers safe in our worship houses, a haven from the trials we all face in the world around us; a place where we can seek God together, and never have to be paranoid about coming together in fellowship.

We must never let this atrocity that happened in Charleston become a common occurrence. We want our white brothers and sisters to take an active role in bringing about change in our nation. Comfort those who suffer unconscionable losses simply for being born African American in our nation, while condemning racism and all it represents in preventing non-white ethnic groups from fully participating in all America has to offer. Be champions for justice and work to make sure that there is equality as well as social and economic opportunities in every aspect of life that uplift the majority rather than a privileged minority. Some of these issues have been addressed in the laws of this land, but they must now be addressed in the law of our hearts and intentions. We must begin working together to achieve them, together; praying and prophetically engaging together to eradicate all forms of evil in our hearts and in our systems, which at this moment are in a state of imbalance and too often negatively impact African Americans.

The New Baptist Covenant under the leadership of President Jimmy Carter, Dr. Jimmy Allen, and other Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Baptists certainly steered us in this direction, making and continuing to work for racial harmony through the Church, modeling Jesus Christ’s example and the Luke 4:18-19 sermon as a living, working document. I am glad to have been a part of the start and continuing reach of NBC. Our work is needed more than ever in this moment.

The Charleston Nine, will forever be etched in history and the memory banks of American consciousness as a tragic event that should never have happened. But, it does not have to remain that way if we allow this event to motivate us to action. It does not have to haunt us if we, as God’s servants, push for justice and equality for all Americans. If this happens, perhaps we will finally become “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

God bless you,

Dr. T. DeWitt Smith, Jr.

“To God Alone Be The Glory”

 

Press Release

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.

 

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