May's Pastor Message

At the 2018 Northern Province Synod, a resolution was passed by those gathered affirming a statement written by the Unity Synod addressing the Moravian Church’s work in addressing racism. The Unity Synod has charged all Provinces and the church as a whole to declare that racism is a sin—a disobedience to the known will of God. The Unity Synod says very plainly “Racism then is sin, because it contradicts the teaching of Jesus and violates the known will of God.” This statement continues to quote from the foundational documents of the Moravian Church.

The Ground of the Unity and The Covenant for Christian Living as well as the Bible itself lifting up passage after passage of God calling all people beloved, that God shows no partiality and we as followers of Christ are called to do the same.

The resolution continued and directed the Provincial Elders Conference (PEC) of the Northern Province of the Moravian Church to “begin the work of dismantling racism in all its forms.” The PEC took this direction of Synod and created a Racial Justice Team which wrote and began implementing the Action Plan Toward Racial Justice and Healing. You can read the full plan in this newsletter. One of the parts of this action plan was education for the clergy of the Moravian Church.

In May 2020, my own in-depth education on racial justice began. It started with viewing Race: The Power of an Illusion, a PBS documentary created in 2003, with other clergy people across the Northern Province. From there,

I sat with lay and clergy people listening to Dr. Timothy Berry from Metropolitan State University and the Interim Dean of Urban Education speak on racial justice and injustice in America. At the same time, I was in a reading group with Young Clergy Women International of Layla Saad’s book Me and White Supremacy.

From there, the invitation went out to the congregation to begin our own work. In July 2020, a group gathered on Zoom to view Race: The Power of an Illusion and from there, the work has continued. It will be 10 months of consistent work on the topic of Racial Justice—of conversations that make you say “ouch,” of tears, and of discomfort as we talk, engage, and challenge. In March, several of the members of the First Moravian Congregation who have been on this 10-month journey of reading, viewing and discussing decided the time had come to issue our own statement to ask the Joint Board to affirm the work that has been done and to continue it. At the April Joint Board Meeting, the leadership of the First Moravian Church of Riverside accepted the letter, affirmed the past work, and approved the continued work of the now, officially appointed, Racial Justice Team. You can read the full letter in the body of the newsletter.

All of this is to say this fact: The work is ongoing, necessary, and it will continue. There will opportunities for all members of our congregation to engage in these conversations and chances to learn and grow with one another. We invite you to join us on this journey together. No, it’s not easy and yes there are challenges along the way. And,

it is necessary.

Join us Tuesday nights on Zoom with Redeemer Moravian Church as we discuss Latasha Morrison’s book Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation.

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