June 10, 2020
Grace and peace to you in this eleventh week of pandemic response and this week of George Floyd’s funeral, when we lift our prayers for family and friends who grieve his death and for the grief and righteous anger we all carry as we continue to call for justice in our racist country.
We also greet you with repentance as your leaders.
Last Sunday’s worship service was full. After several?months of planning by the Creativity Council we were able to present the profound Praise Song to Oceania, written by Chamorro poet Craig Santos Perez, in honor of World Oceans Day, and as a call to recognize the harm human activity is doing to our oceans and their residents, harm that will disproportionately be felt by people of color and those living in poverty. We also celebrated 13 years of music ministry as we said goodbye and thank you to our music director Heidi Blythe. It was a full service.
But with all the good that our worship service held on Sunday, what it missed was a significant and sustained call for racial justice that has echoed across this country and around the world over the last two weeks. Thank you for those in this congregation who have reached out to tell us of their disappointment for that failure. In this time when millions are crying out for change, our leadership’s voice should be a part of the chorus.?Those in our congregation who have been participating in the protests, and those who have been leading us in our work to be an anti-racist congregation, need to know of our commitment and our support.
“Repentance,” both literally and theologically, means “to turn around and go the other way.” We as your pastors and leaders continue to be committed to the justice work of dismantling racism, as we set our feet in the path of Jesus. We are also very aware that we can get off that path. When we do, we are committed to naming that, and changing direction, until we are on that path again. We know that we as your leaders and that our congregation has much work to do around racial justice. As a predominately white congregation, we acknowledge that our unconscious bias and our microaggressions have hurt people of color in our congregation and on our staff. We commit ourselves to doing the work we need to do to change. We understand it is a commitment that requires daily attention and action. And this month our Racial Justice Action Team is meeting to identify benchmarks for us as a congregation to aim for as we continue our work.
A few weeks ago in worship we sang you these words: “We are pilgrims on this journey, we are travelers on the road. We are here to help each other go the mile and bear the load.” We are committed to that journey, and even though we may fall down seven times, we will, by the grace of God, rise up eight!
This week we are joining the general strike called for by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County Chapter. Our staff will take the day on Friday to set aside other church work and join in racial justice work in a way that is faithful to them. We also will be on the corner of 45th and 15th on Friday from 12:00 noon until 1:00 p.m., standing in solidarity with those who are calling for the dismantling of racist policies and practices in our city and our country.
We encourage you to bring your own sign and mask if you would like to join us. Some masks and signs will also be available if you need them.
As always, if you are in need or would like to speak to a pastor, please reach out. We are here.
Blessings to you,
Here are some resources for further education and advocacy:
Black Lives Matter, Seattle-King County Chapter
Members of our church are involved with BLM-SKC (in leadership, and as volunteers and donors). They are the organizers of Friday’s Day of Action in Support of Black Lives. They have created a bail fund for local protesters and have a list of comprehensive demands they’re discussing with local and state leaders.
“Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture” from Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun.
UCUCC staff and lay leaders are using this resource to identify, examine, and work to dismantle the characteristics of white supremacy culture within ourselves and our church.
How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi.
Our Racial Justice Book Group is reading this book and recommends chapters 11 and 12 on racism embedded in policing policies and racism linked with classist policies, which are particularly relevant to the current protests to the recent murders of George Floyd and others. If the book is sold out, the link above also includes other essays.
White Privilege: Let’s Talk–A Resource for Transformational Dialogue.
This free adult curriculum from the national United Church of Christ is designed to invite church members to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive, and bold conversations on race.
Find articles about UCUCC’s Racial Justice work on our website,
in the “What’s Up Now” section, by selecting “Racial Justice” from the drop-down menu. There you’ll find a recent call to action around voter suppression, as well as UCUCC’s statement in solidarity with those protesting the murder of George Floyd. There are also updates from their work this year, including an update from the Immigration Team and the Land Use Acknowledgement Task Force. We also include updes from the Racial Justice Action Team in our weekly emails. This week, they’ll share a list of articles that they recommend.
To join the Racial Justice email list, contact gro.ccuytisrevinu@eciffo