A Statement of Unity from Metro Richmond Pastors and Ministry Leaders
August 17, 2017
Last weekend’s events in Charlottesville have left all of us struggling for the right response. As pastors and ministry leaders in Richmond, Virginia, we desire to express with a unified voice our sorrow over the state of our land and our resolve to be part of the healing. Knowing that Richmond, Virginia, has played such a significant role in the history of racism in our nation and the historic Confederate cause, we are compelled to speak with a unified voice about how we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ speaks so relevantly and clearly in this particular moment.
We affirm that every man, woman and child is made in the image of God, and that every person of every ethnicity and culture bears the beautiful dignity of God’s design. We affirm that God intends the variety of human cultures as an expression of his glory. We affirm that Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected not only to save us from our sin, but also to shatter the barriers that divide the races, bringing together those that human rebellion has separated. We affirm that God’s consummated Kingdom will be a place of rich diversity and cultural expression. We affirm the church is called to be a community that reflects that future Kingdom.
We reject the ideology of White Supremacy as an unqualified evil, a denunciation of the gospel, and a heresy which wars against God’s design of human culture and creation. We reject the notion that white people, or any collection of humans of any culture, are superior to any other. We reject any ideology that seeks to erect or maintain barriers that God has torn down through Jesus Christ. We reject the efforts to place the good of one race or one nation above the good of all, for God desires all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
We repent of the way that we the church have been complicit in the sins of racism, either through active defense of slavery, segregation and discrimination, or through passive silence and inactivity. We repent of the fact that Christians have played a major role in helping create the segregation and racial injustice that we see in our city and nation today. We repent of our own racism, fear and hatred, both conscious and unconscious. We repent of our reluctance or unwillingness to be agents of healing and reconciliation across cultural and racial divides in our churches, city and nation.
We resolve to preach, teach and advocate against the sin of racism and White Supremacy. We resolve to lead in the way of love, and seek ways to tear down the barriers that divide races and cultures in our city. We resolve to listen to those who have been wounded and dehumanized by the sins of racism. We resolve to pray fervently for God’s healing and reconciliation in our churches, city, and country. We resolve to help our churches become more hospitable and welcoming communities to diverse people. We resolve to repent continually of our own racism, and to look to Jesus Christ continually for our forgiveness and strength.
David Bailey, Arrabon
Don Coleman, East End Fellowship
Corey Widmer, Third Church Richmond