Messages of Solidarity for Racial Justice
Following the killing of George Floyd, partners from all over the world shared messages of solidarity. The messages are an inspiring example of mutuality as they offer calls for justice.
A Message of Solidarity for Racial Justice
Love is seeing the face of God in every human being. Every person is my brother or my sister. However, seeing the face of God in everyone does not mean accepting evil or aggression on their part. Rather, this love seeks to correct the evil and stop the aggression. (Kairos Palestine: a confession of faith and call to action from Palestinian Christians, 4.2.1)
Kairos Palestine expresses its unequivocal support for the Black Lives Matter movement and everyone working for racial justice in the USA, the demands of which have resonated in communities around the world.
The movement has opened an opportune moment—a kairos moment—for citizens in the United States and people of faith and civil society around the world to name and address places of systemic racism, economic inequality, food deprivation, lack of access to health care, and state-sanctioned violence that strip human beings of their dignity, equal rights and far too often their lives.
We invite you to join us as together:
- We listen and learn from our Black and Brown brothers and sisters;
- We lament that Black Americans and people of color daily endure injustice and discrimination, police brutality, and systemic racism;
- We confess and repent of our share in the brokenness that divides humankind;
- We renew our commitment to work for the freedom and wholeness of all people;
- We bind ourselves anew, like leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement, to a resistance grounded in the power and logic of love that seeks to liberate both the oppressors and the oppressed in our own context and around the globe.
We give thanks for the many expressions of Black-Palestinian solidarity over decades. The oppression of both our peoples is rooted in the sin of settler-colonialism and the disinvestment of resources in the well-being of our people and communities. So we embrace the Black Lives Matter movement as a moral one—its importance, its growing strength, its successes, and its unmet demands. And we look forward to opportunities to join in the work of other diverse communities to realize the value, the humanity, and the rights of all people to justice and peace.
Board of Directors
Kairos Palestine, the most extensive Palestinian Christian ecumenical non-violent movement, is based on Kairos Palestine document: A Moment of Truth, launched in 2009, affirming that the Palestinian Christians are part and parcel of the Palestinian nation, calling for peace to end all suffering in the Holy Land by laboring for justice, hope and love, embraced by the Christian community, signed by all historically recognized Palestinian Christian organizations, and endorsed by the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
During this time of physical stress as the world faces an epidemic, we wish to share our concern with you as you face the sorrows and struggles of racial injustices in American society. We pray that the church of Jesus Christ would continue to be an active and courageous witness in “the struggle for justice and peace”, and that the work of reconciliation would move forward toward a more hopeful future.
Our deepest gratitude to you for faithfully standing with and praying for the churches and nations of the Middle East, especially with the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, in our present anxiety-filled times. It is a privilege and a burden of love to pray for you, with the hope we have in Jesus Christ, who has the power to “make all things new” (Rev. 21.5).
Yours in Christ,
President and Central Committee
In one of his writings from prison, shortly before the Nazi government executed him, the theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, exhorted “to see the great events of history from the perspective of those below, the belittled, mistreated, oppressed, slandered, excluded; in short, from the perspective of those who suffer.” Among human beings who for centuries have been belittled, mistreated, oppressed, slandered, and excluded, are those whose skin is dark.
The cruel murder of George Floyd, executed by a white cop, resonates these days, both in the United States and in the rest of the world. It is not a strange or peculiar murder. The United States was formed as a nation from two inhumane cruelties: the massacre of indigenous peoples and slavery of Africans. Countless indigenous communities were exterminated or displaced, and numerous Africans, marked by the color of their skin, were condemned to the cruel bondage of slavery.
Even after the abolition of slavery, starting from a bloody and bloodthirsty civil war, American black communities for a century were considered inferior. They suffered many segregationist laws, customs, and traditions. Although half a century ago, these laws, customs, and traditions lost their legal sustainment, racial discrimination still endures and causes intense suffering and tragedy. In very recent times, the violent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, three Afro-American descendants, demonstrate the cruel perseverance of racial discrimination.
It is sad to recognize the slavery of these human beings and their consequential racial discrimination were justified on countless occasions by citing biblical scriptures. “And as for your male and female slaves whom you may have—from the nations that are around you, from them you may buy male and female slaves… And you may take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them as a possession; they shall be your permanent slaves…” (Leviticus 25.445-26 NKJV). “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling…” (Ephesians 6.5 NKJV). It is why Giovanni Boccaccio concludes in the Decameron, his classic work of the fourteenth century, by stating the following: “Divine writing is a holy book, but there have been those who have misunderstood it, causing much damage.”
It is up to us today, as an essential element of our Christian apostolate, to proclaim the full and absolute equality of human beings. We must reject vigorously the racial discrimination, which, we reiterate, is expressed in multiple ways, including in the cruel murders that Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd tragically suffered this year.
We are followers of Jesus Christ, who from the beginning and until the end of his earthly existence expressed, in acts and words, his full solidarity with the belittled, mistreated, oppressed, slandered, and excluded from the earth. Therefore, we must repudiate the cruelty that characterizes the discrimination suffered by countless human beings because of the color of their skin. In this tragic context, the words of Jesus vigorously resound: “And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me'” (Matthew 25:40 NRSV).
Written by Dr. Luis Rivera-Pagán
Association of Graduates
Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico (SEPR)
Greetings from the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB).
While life is being senselessly lost around the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic leaving us in deep uncertainty, at the same time we recently witnessed racially charged tragedies in the USA have put us again in deep sorrow and distress. It is clear that the brutal murders of Ahmad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many more like them have surfaced out of the gross negligence, disdain, and lack of value for black human life due to deep-rooted racial discrimination, injustice, abuse of power, capitalism, and skin-color-based supremacy in society.
Here, we from CCDB stand in solidarity with you all, with our partners and churches in the USA, in unequivocally asserting that Black Lives Matter, Indigenous Lives matter, People living in extreme poverty and with physical difficulties-their lives matter. We commit our full support to you while you protest and fight back against skin-color-based supremacy, discrimination, injustice, capitalism, and patriarchy—all the systems that created the inequality, climate crisis, and refugee crisis and left communities in a constant state of predicament, violence, frustration, mass incarceration, and poverty.
We believe that every life matters and one life is not more important than the other. Being followers of Christ, we are compelled to protest all sorts of discrimination, injustice, disparities, and immoral values of supremacy. Please know that our prayer to Almighty God remains with you and together we look forward to a world free from indignity, discrimination, and other evils.
Juliate K. Malakar
Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB)
With sadness, and on behalf of IECA (Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola), and I believe all Africans, we want to express our sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, to all Americans, Blacks and Whites, who from their deep hearts, have lost a son, a friend, a father, a man and a loved one, the beloved George Floyd. He also was made in the image of God like any one of us, with the right to protection and life. For this, He pleaded: “I can’t breathe; please, I can’t breathe.”
George Floyd is gone and may God our Lord welcome him in His Kingdom and rest in peace. Even though, we believe that, America and Africa, and all places and nations in the world,
“Will listen to what God, the Lord, wants to say;
He promises PEACE to His people, His faithful servants,
But let them not turn again to folly.
Surely God’s salvation is near those who fear Him,
That His glory may dwell in the Land of America and Africa.
LOVE and FAITHFULNESS meet together,
RIGHTEOUSNESS and PEACE kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs forth from the EARTH,
and Righteousness looks down from HEAVEN.
It is our hope, that,
The Lord will indeed give what is good
and our lands – America and Africa –will yield their best harvest.”
As we read this Psalm 85:8-12, our feeling is that nothing is impossible to God and the best days are on the way when we will no longer mourn our beloved ones bearing the image of God like us to die like George, and our ancestors from the hands of their masters.
May God forgive those who did it and deeply inspire transformation into the systems that are enabling such crimes and injustices to happen.
We live in a society that is longing for Christian values, like loving care, friendliness, compassion, solidarity, fellowship, unity, tenderness, and Fear of God. Let the Church’s witness shine and be the salt of the earth promoting repentance, forgiveness, true reconciliation, and peace. Let the Church teach unity, friendship, fellowship, and loving care.
COVID-19 came to unveil the darkness, and show that God’s eyes are open to see all that happens in this world, and nothing, these days, can go unnoticed for long.
As we take your motto “Black lives matter” we want to confess that independent Africa is being slow to change fully the situation that forced our ancestors to be taken by force to far western lands. Africa is not yet a welcoming place for its sons and daughters; by the contrary we witness every day, with sorrow, people running away from Africa, and dying in the Mediterranean Ocean longing to reach Europe and America for a better life. Intermittent wars are instigated in order to create chaos for oppressive systems to rule, and thousands of innocent lives are lost, and forced into exile every day throughout the Continent.
Our prayer is that as God bless your Land, He will as well spare our Continent and countries from atrocities and grant us peace.
May God bring forth His Kingdom of Justice in this world and be our salvation.
With sorrow and best regards
Rev. André Cangovi Eurico
Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola
United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
The United Congregational Church of Southern Africa reaches out to its partners in the United States of America; Global Ministries, United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as their member churches struggle with a double pandemic across several states: the COVID 19 and now the uproar against structural racism in their country.
We echo the words of Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington that across America protesters are ‘rightfully demanding an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country.’ This was and still is a sin.
Whilst protestors in the US mourn the death of George Floyd with anger, as it occurred for all the world to see, the ‘Black Lives Matter’ and other movements across the country are rising up around the ‘I can’t breathe’ slogan. We condemn this horrendous brutality which is systemic subjugation of the Black Lives by the white supremacists. In several cities, in large numbers, they draw attention to the racist injustice in the criminal “Justice” system which has not only witnessed the illegal murder of Black, Hispanic and First Nation People, but has left disproportionate numbers of black people incarcerated and on death row. The people, at last, are saying ‘Enough is enough’ and we will not stop this time until we are heard.
We reach out in solidarity and prayer to the people of our and all faiths in the USA as the social distancing demanded by Covid19 has been lost now not only with confused leadership by Donald Trump administration which is unfortunate, inappropriate and polarizing; but the spontaneous uprising of justice demanding protesters whose cause, it is reported, is being undermined by white supremacists.
It is tragic that this murder and the accompanying mourning and protest occurred in the Twin City of Minneapolis and St Paul, the home of the Martin Luther King Jr Seminary. Martin Luther King once said: ‘You cannot make a man love me! But you can stop him from lynching me!’ More than 60 years on the lynching still continues! It is time to recognise that the death of George Floyd is indicative of a racist culture and system that needs urgent progressive leadership and reform.
The “I can’t breathe” slogan was created in the week of Pentecost leading up to Pentecost Sunday, where the church universal awaits and celebrates the giving of the Holy Spirit to all people. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared amongst the disciples who were in fear of Roman persecution, breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Again, in the book of Acts, God “breathed” the Spirit on the people of Jerusalem. God drew no distinction in terms of race, class, and gender. God simply “breathed” so that we can all breathe! The Spirit gives life. The State never has the right to take that breath away.
Scripture does not merely call us to reflect on justice but we are called to do justice, being a justice church we stand in complete solidarity with all those who suffer injustice. The prophets are full of appeals to “hold fast to justice” (Hosea 12:6) also called by Amos to “establish justice” (Amos 5:15). “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:24). The UCCSA believes that doing justice, struggling against injustice, is not an optional extra of our faith; it stands at the very core of our faith and of our identity of being church.
Yours in Christ service,
Rev. Kudzani SBM Ndebele
General Secretary, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
Rev Sikhalo Cele
President, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
All Africa Conference of Churches
As the whole world continues to see the unprecedented exposure of rampant racism, particularly against people of African Descent in the USA, the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) condemns the injustice and racism we are witnessing in the USA. We condemn in no uncertain terms the brutal murder of George Floyd and many others by those who are supposed to be keeping law and order for all the citizens. We express profound solidarity with all people of the USA, regardless of their races, in their struggle for sustainable justice for all.
It is very sad indeed, that so many years after the abolition of slavery and many attempts to remedy the systemic racism and social imbalances thereafter, still the flagrant existence and practice of systemic racism has been uncovered one more time. We join all those people we see on the streets of the USA who say, “enough is enough”. We are appalled by the silence of those who claim to be real Christians, and still defend acts of brutality against groups of people who do not look like themselves, who are called “minorities.”
The All Africa Conference of Churches advocates for “respecting the dignity and image of God in every human being.” We sincerely applaud many church bodies in the USA who have been standing against this rampant racism. We applaud the many non-black citizens of the USA who are standing for justice for the people of African descent, demonstrating with them and demanding justice for all together. It is laudable that most non-black people do condemn and fight injustice against people of African descent. It will be a mistake to construe sinful, racist attitudes, and actions as black against white and vice versa. Racism is a sin, in whatever form it manifests itself.
We have always appreciated how the USA attempted to be a champion of justice and human rights globally, always condemning and sanctioning countries and leaderships who violate the rights of their own people and against the militarization of law and order. As we follow developments going on in the USA, we are asking, will the USA government recover its moral authority and credibility to dare call out any other country which uses military on the streets to dominate citizens demanding the right to be heard, or which sanctions its law and order organs to brutalize its own people using flimsy and queer legislation, to humiliate its people? Where is the soul of America as a country of the free?
We join the churches in the USA to continue advocating for justice and peace in America and condemn sinful systemic racism. We urge them not to lose hope, but to continue praying and working for justice and freedom for all in America. We call on the millions of African Christians to pray for the country of USA as it works to uproot this sin and ensure justice for all. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God (Matthew 5:9).” But no justice, no peace!
All Africa Conference of Churches
World Communion of Reformed Churches
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:40
The World Communion of Reformed Churches expresses its grief, anger, and solidarity over the murder of George Floyd and the many, many other black people who have been killed in the United States by police forces.
In no uncertain terms, we condemn this act of police brutality and call on the appropriate authorities on all levels to take quick action to bring the perpetrators to justice and address the long-standing root causes. We call for solidarity against anti-black racism understanding that racism in all its forms and the many ways it intersects with gender, ethnicity, and culture needs to be overcome. Racism has taken from us the lives of women, men, trans-persons, and even children.
We are appalled at the continuing systemic racism that undergirds the brutal violence faced by black communities and call for demolishing the structures of racism and the dismantling of white privilege. As our member church, ECO states, “Simply put, racism is wrong. It is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the church must work against it.”
We call on our member churches in the United States and elsewhere to commit to undoing the injustice of racism while at the same time acknowledging our complicity in upholding racism and racist theologies, confessing, repenting, seeking forgiveness, and working towards reconciliation and reparations. We lift up the cries of the black community and call for the raising of voices of lament and the joining of hands in resistance.
“America is a society suffering from… a wound that was self-inflicted four hundred years ago through the institution of slavery and has never healed. It is an issue foundational to America. The black/white, slave/free legacy and current mindset must be dealt with before any peoples can be free in this nation,” said a pastoral letter from the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
The Ottawa General Council of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (a predecessor to the WCRC) declared what can be found in the Belhar Confession: “Racism is a sin, and the theological support of racist ideologies is a heresy.” We continue to lift up both this declaration and Confession today and call on all our member churches as well as the global ecumenical community to speak firmly and prophetically against the sin of racism.
Along with the United Church of Christ, we affirm that “we are called to uproot white supremacy in all of its forms.”
With the Presbyterian Church (USA) we affirm blackness by stating, “GOD LOVES BLACKNESS. Too many have denied this basic truth for too long. Our choice to align ourselves with love and not hate requires both a rejection of racism and a positive proclamation that God delights in black lives.”
We acknowledge that racism is part of a global system of dominance that is intertwined and embedded with an unjust economic system, ecological violence, and patriarchy. In the Accra Confession, we declared, “Therefore we reject any theology that claims that God is only with the rich and that poverty is the fault of the poor. We reject any form of injustice that destroys right relations—gender, race, class, disability, or caste. We reject any theology which affirms that human interests dominate nature.”
We acknowledge that this system has resulted in what we can firmly name as Global Apartheid which seeks the consolidation of the power of few at the cost of the many and particularly those communities who are racialized. With the Evangelical Presbyterian Church we affirm that we are called “to speak out for justice and equality; to speak against racism, injustice, and inequality; and to work to arrest the origins of civil unrest—namely, poverty, racial separation, immorality, and a lack of radical love.”
In this moment of crisis, we are called to adequately and deeply discern the signs of the times and to imagine and work towards another world in which the humanity and dignity of each individual are lifted up and the sinful structures of death are brought down. For we know that the Lord requires us “to act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
We particularly call on local communities and congregations to address the issue of police brutality by engaging local government agencies to dismantle the culture that encourages, embraces, and uses “use-of-force” policies and to demilitarize police forces.
We further call on churches to have crucial conversations on race and racism that work towards racial justice and specifically call all churches to examine and root out the role white privilege plays in their theology and praxis. Along with the Reformed Church in America, we urge all our members to explore how they practically live out the Belhar Confession’s principles of justice, reconciliation, and unity.
We call on our churches and the wider ecumenical community to join in a day of lament, fasting, and prayer on 8 June—and let it only be a start to a continuing struggle for justice.
The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) represents 100 million Christians and 235 denominations in over 105 countries. With its members, the WCRC works to renew and restore the economy and the earth, so that all humanity and the whole of creation might live life in its fullness (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Greetings from CASA (Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action) India. I am Sushant Agrawal, National Director of CASA.
We are really saddened by the unfolding incidents in the USA after the death of George Floyd. In India, we see this kind of incident as parallel to the treatment given to Dalits and Adivasi by the majority. These are incidents of caste discrimination, which, in biblical understanding, is inhuman and ungodly and therefore, unacceptable. What has happened with Mr. Floyd is not acceptable as it appears to many in India as a clear case of racism against a community that is not liked by many in power. We send our apology and condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family as a Christian Ecumenical Diakonial Organisation from India. It is encouraging to see the people from all backgrounds of the USA, irrespective of their creed, colour, and political affiliation, expressing solidarity with the issue and opposing oppression of a sect of the society. This is a true expression of Christian witness. However, we are concerned with the unfolding riots and arson. I believe that the matter has now gone beyond the murder of just one individual, with community leaders across the USA pointing to systematic racism and killings of a particular race.
I, on behalf of the governance and management of CASA, would like to send prayerful greetings to you and your colleagues. We stand in solidarity with the people of the USA against any form of injustice. Our Lord is God of justice and we are created in His own image. He is justice and peace. May the peace, love, and compassion of our Lord be experienced by you all in the USA.
With kind regards,
CASA (Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action), India
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
George Floyd’s life has been taken in a horrific and shocking manner. Since he was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, there have been protests and demonstrations in many places across the United States, in midst of the Coronavirus crisis. His cry of “I can’t breathe” is joined by the cries of other people of color, women, men, and children throughout the country. We hear his cry, and we now see his words and his image memorialized in graffiti on a wall in Berlin’s Mauerpark.
We also hear of courageous participation in the protests against violence and injustice. We want you to know that we stand with you in your commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. We remember the UCC described racism as “America’s original sin” when you visited our synod last fall. In solidarity with you, we call for an end to racial injustice in America and around the world. We encourage all people to find peaceful solutions.
Your witness inspires us as your church partners, and we believe that it sends a strong message to the global church as a whole. You have mobilized your faith in speaking, standing, and showing up, and you can truly be called blessed as peacemakers. We see congregations creating opportunities for dialogue and for preaching resistance peacefully. Your love, modeled after Christ’s love, inspires us as do the words of Martin Luther King Jr. that have been made even more relevant as I write this letter today: “darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
In this season of Pentecost, we pray that the Holy Spirit will empower us to stand up together for the breath and lives of our sisters and brothers of color and to commit ourselves to a peaceful society living in reconciled diversity towards justice and peace. We promise to combat racism together with you. May our partnership remind you of the fact that you do not do this work alone, and may this scripture give you strength – “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, of courage and resolution, to meet difficulties and dangers; the spirit of love which will carry us through opposition” 2 Timothy 1:7.
Come, Holy Spirit,
and show us a new language,
who welcomes strangers,
who can praise without envy,
that does not harm
and yet does not withhold criticism,
who sticks to the truth.
Come, holy spirit,
and show us a brave language of love,
that lends a voice,
to those who have no voice – to those who have grown too tired,
to demand one more thing,
even those who are too afraid,
Come, Holy Spirit,
and show us some tender speech,
that can draw people to faith,
a tender language,
in our homes and our churches,
that makes our cities habitable and
liveable and breathable for all your children once again.
Come, Holy Spirit, come.
In warm and deep solidarity, Yours in Christ,
Bishop Petra Bosse-Huber
Head of the Department of the Union of Evangelical Churches in Germany (UEK) in the EKD
We just celebrated the Day of the Feast of Pentecost. Pentecost shows us the way to a new stage in the life of the church and human history. It is the beginning of a life in the presence of the Spirit; it is the beginning of a new world, a world full of truths: solidarity, peace, equity, equality. Pentecost is the beginning of a new community where everything belongs to everyone and for everyone, where each one thinks of the other, and loves him as himself, where the unavoidable truths of the gospel are lived as the central essence of human relations.
Faced with the multifactorial crisis that the United States is experiencing today, where the most vulnerable and marginalized are the primary victims, we join our sister Churches and to the American people, accompanying them and being by their side in prayer and action.
Let hatred and instigation cease. Let injustice and inequality disappear.
End the lack of rights and violence.
Let weapons and selfishness disappear.
That manipulation and violation of the integrity of the human being and creation be annulled.
That all discrimination against minorities, and the excluded, be stopped.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s administration promotes values contrary to what we preach, even when he dares to hold a Bible with no reverence nor respect for anybody.
Let the right to life, health, respect for authentic dignity, and human freedom, prevail over the interests of power, greed, and dominance.
In the peace of the Risen One.
Lord, you have been our refuge from generation to generation. Before the mountains were born or the orb of the earth was generated, always and forever, you are God. Psalm 90: 1-2
Rev. Antonio Santana Hernández
Rev. Joel Ortega Dopico
Cuban Council of Churches
Dear Friends, Partners in God’s mission in this world,
We hang our heads in shame on account of the extent to which human persons can go to exhibit prejudices!
With George Floyd, the entire humanity has been suffocated. Yes, it is one or a few persons who cause the blot; the deep-seated prejudices spread in the entire community cannot be however overlooked.
We pray for discernment at this time as you guide the Church forward in these difficult times. We are proud of the heritage of your Churches and your unflinching stand against racial prejudices.
We share in your pain and agony, the pain and agony of the family of George Floyd, and all peoples of the United States of America who are disturbed at this unfortunate development. We feel it in our bones when we relate it to the violence that is meted out to Dalit people in India every day.
We need to root it out altogether. Count on us. We will learn from amongst our peoples and their experiences. We will continue in our resolve to build a world, a people, with no prejudice nor undue privilege.
We pray for peace in your land, a peace that affirms and assures justice to the sinned against. We pray for God’s blessing and grace on your initiative to this end.
With our sympathies and united prayers,
National Council of Churches in India
Warm greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus.
On behalf of the Church of Christ in Thailand, I offer my heartfelt prayers to the people of the US for the unprecedented countrywide protests in the US following the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. The brothers and sisters in the Church of Christ in Thailand take this opportunity to send our deepest concern to those people and all members in your churches who are in pain and suffering. We will hold the violence in the US in our thoughts and our prayers.
“The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9 KJV
May the Lord, God of life, Christ of love, and Spirit of peace solve the problems, keep all safe, and strengthen the people of the US to be in unity.
Rev. Sayam Muangsak
Church of Christ in Thailand
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the US:
I write with prayer and deep concern for the suffering community and struggle for justice, equality, dignity, and freedom for minorities. I am praying for the healing and reconciliation of the conflicted and divided nation.
We have had similar experiences in the past as members of the minority Christian community in Sri Lanka as we struggled to breathe through freedom of religion, inclusive democratic rights, and all civil rights. Therefore, we physically and mentally well know the pain of Black Americans and all struggling minorities in the US.
Obviously, Black Lives Matter in the American context. When I studied at Eden Theological Seminary in St Louis, I experienced the unrest in Ferguson in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown by a white police officer in 2014. I participated in several protests and meetings organized by Eden Seminary, therefore, I know how racism plays a key role in terms of white supremacy.
Today, the pandemic of COVID-19 has turned the US upside down, with more than 107,000 deaths and 1,800,000 infected in the country. In this context, racism is killing minorities and marginalized another way. This is very sad and against God’s purpose.
In this particular context, as the Church, as a community of God’s people what should we understand, how should we respond, and where should we stand? Christians today live in a world divided and broken by racism, religious supremacy, capitalism, and militarized governance. In this era, as the Church, we should understand that wider ecumenism and freedom and dignity of all the people are matters of ministry for the church. Human rights and the lives of all people should be protected and promoted along with their culture, faiths, and feelings. And, as the Church and followers of Jesus Christ, we should engage with the oppressed and suffering.
Therefore, we announce that “Racism is sin” which is against God’s will in the world. Thus, the Church cannot take sides with white supremacy and any type of racism.
We, the Peace Forum (Uniting Faith Community – Batticaloa) in Sri Lanka join with Black Americans and we declare that Black Lives Matter and pray for the healing of the country. We, the Peace Forum (Freedom of Religions and Minorities – CACM) are ready to engage in the process of rediscovering the values of God and to the world in a new and dynamic way.
May the God of liberator and transformer be with you
Rev. Rajan Rohaan
Peace Forum (Freedom of Religion and Rights of Minorities)
Church of the American Ceylon Mission (CACM), Sri Lanka
Greetings From The Protestant Church in East Timor (IPTL) in Timor Leste,
Justice in Christ to our Brothers and Sisters in Christ and families of George Floyd.
We have followed the news that has been circulated by the mass media and we deeply regret that the law enforcement police officers who are to protect the people have turned to killing the people.
We feel the sadness of family, Church, and community over this incident. God created humanity with justice and love for all people, without seeing differences in skin color, ethnicity, religion, and nationality.
We believe that God created man in His image: male and female, black and white. With God’s power and love, God created humanity through His justice.
George Floyd was an image of God who had the right to life as a human image of God.
We continue to pray for your Church’s struggle to preach the prophetic voice: that all people are fair to each other, they are faithful and have humility before God. (Micah 7:8).
We also pray and hope that your government will act wisely in establishing a fair legal system for all citizens.
As a partner with your churches through Global Ministries, we stand by you with deep sorrow and concern for the death of George Floyd.
We also feel the grief of George Floyd’s family, and together with the peace-loving community, we strongly condemn the inhumane anarchist attitude that has been carried out by the police in Minnesota, resulting in the death of George Floyd.
We believe that the death of George Floyd will arouse the enthusiasm and solidarity of all people to obtain true justice.
We pray that God will uphold justice for the family of George Floyd and other oppressed people.
“ARISE THE LORD, LIFT UP YOUR HAND, O GOD DO NOT FORGET THE HELPLESS.” (Psalm 10:12).
The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Rev. Juliana Temparaja
General Secretary of The Protestant Church in East Timor (IPTL)
Dear Ecumenical Friends,
We are so shocked to watch the news this week, as the whole world witnessed the repulsive and distressing video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of a black man named George Floyd. As the life went out of him, Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe. He eventually died in broad daylight and the occurrence undoubtedly violated the Black Lives Matter movement. George Floyd’s death was so blatant, so unjustifiable and so disturbing, that it should be entirely uncontroversial to condemn it as racist violence and demand the prosecution of all four officers, which reveals the systemic nature of Minnesota’s racism and policing problems.
In Minneapolis, protesters poured into the streets, where they met a far harsher police response than anything faced by the country’s gun-toting anti-lockdown activists. These demonstrations were sparked by specific instances of police violence, but they also take place in a context of widespread health and economic devastation that’s been disproportionately borne by people of color, especially those who are poor. Protesters staged large-scale demonstrations prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and, more broadly, anger at police brutality. Some cities, including Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Seattle, saw clashes with police, buildings and cars set afire, and looting. And this way of expressing anger, through violent agitation is not acceptable.
As you are deeply concerned, closely involved in positive changes, and a sensitive part of the community, you are suffering a lot with much irritations, anxieties, and dissatisfaction because of these incidents. And obviously these incidents are doubly painful during this Pandemic crisis.
We assure you of our prayers, support, and solidarity to churches in the US, especially to our valued partners, the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) through Global Ministries. As the Holy Bible says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28. These Holy words clearly manifested that our Great Lord never considers his disciples in terms of color, gender, or religion. We all are made in the image of God and He loves us equally with His abundant blessings. We humans are the ones who deviate from His path and discriminate and stigmatize each other in the name of religion, social standards, and in other distinctive ways. We pray and hope for a better world without any racism and hate crimes. May our Great Lord heal us from this wound and let us follow the desired path of peace and harmony guided by Him. We do believe that someday, somehow our dream of co-living and co-existing will come true!
Re. David Anirudha Das
National Council of Churches Bangladesh