17 East LaCrosse Avenue,
Lansdowne, PA 19050, Office Phone-610-626-0637,
Member of American Baptist Churches, USA (one of the most diverse denominations in the US), and the Philadelphia Baptist Association
This week we picked up with Chapter 2. There will be lots of material about human downfall and what we must do to walk with God instead of stumbling along in the dark being miserable. We ended with Chapter 4. It was a wild ride. You are all invited.
What follows is a letter from American Baptist Churches USA dealing with the chaos that has occurred as a response to racism following the violent death of George Floyd:
Dear American Baptists,
The death of George Floyd has caused widespread pain, rage, protests, and violence in Minneapolis and across the United States. I appreciate the input received from officers of the Regional Executive Ministers Council, members of the National Executive Council, and others in constructing a response to this event. While American Baptists have never advocated violence, we grieve with those feeling the pent-up pain from years of racial discrimination and injustice. The horrifying video captured at the corner of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street in Minneapolis has released years of frustration that can never be fully understood by those who have not consistently lived with injustice historically and presently.
Acts of current racial injustice as well as the effects of historic racial injustices have been brought into the light in recent weeks as we recognize that African-Americans have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. In a recent study, the Centers for Disease Control found that 45% of individuals for whom race or ethnicity data was available were white, compared to 55% of individuals in the surrounding community and that 33% of hospitalized patients were black compared to 18% in the community. Unequal access to healthcare, jobs, education, and training have all been influenced by the racialized society in which we continue to live.
Unfortunately, acts of violence have been cast upon many ethnically distinct groups within our congregations and among our international partners. Many Chinese as well as Asian-Americans are being targeted, harassed, and even physically attacked because of comments made about COVID-19. In Malaysia, we are hearing reports of the government using information collected from the treatment of persons affected by COVID-19 for deportation despite earlier statements that no one who sought medical services for the coronavirus would be arrested based on their immigration status.
Racism and Xenophobia have deep roots in American history and culture and wrongs cannot be righted overnight. While expeditious action is critical to the pursuit of justice for George Floyd, dialogue, conversation, systemic change, and continued acts of justice to curb the sources of prejudice and discrimination are needed.
In these tense times of ache and agony and stinging memories of bias and wrongdoing, we are called again to combat racism and resist violence. American Baptists have historically advocated against both violence as well as racial injustice. “Our denominational history is rich with resistance against violence. From Roger Williams speaking in defense of First Nations People, to the Abolitionists, down to Walter Rauschenbusch, and Martin Luther King, American Baptists in particular have been on the forefront for the cessation of violence and the coming of Shalom.” (American Baptist Case Statement on Violence from the 2015 Mission Table). I am calling on people of faith to find the resources of the Spirit to calm their anger. “Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3, NASV)
Our denominational history is also rich in working toward justice in general and racial justice in particular. “Racial justice,” as defined in our 1989 ABCUSA policy statement, “is recognizing our oneness in Christ, confessing that we have not become what God wants us to be, and committing ourselves to pressing on to that mark of high calling by which we can become a liberating symbol to our nation and world of what it means to be the people of God. In so doing, we can challenge our nation to live up to its high purposes.”
“Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16, NASV) I charge our American Baptist family to continue to search, advocate, and live where the good way lies.
Dr. C. Jeff Woods Interim General Secretary American Baptist Churches USA
Saturday, March 14, 2020: Philadelphia Baptist Association Domestic Violence Learning Community sponsors a mini conference "Repair, Build and Maintain Healthy Relationships" from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 5732 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19139, Pastor Rev. Dr. Donald D. Moore. RSVP by March 6, 2020 to: firstname.lastname@example.org (Cancelled 3/13/2020 due to coronavirus)
Saturday, March 21, 2020: Philadelphia Baptist Association's Fifth Annual Passion for Mission Cafe event is titled "Trauma--Informed Helping Skills." This is an event for clergy, lay leaders, young adults & outreach ministry volunteers and those involved in care giving. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and includes a Continental Breakfast, Meaningful Conversation, Fellowship, and Lunch. The cost per person is $25.00. Individuals can register at the door. The presenter of the day will be Rev. Dr. Patricia Murphy. (Postponed due to coronavirus, 3/13/2020)
Sunday, May 17, 2020: The ADL will be holding their 10th annual Philadelphia Walk Against Hate. Registering early locks in a $10 registration fee for adults and $5 for children until March 15th. To register, go to WalkAgainstHate.org/Philly This is an opportunity to celebrate diversity and challenge bigotry. The walk begins at 9 a.m. at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. (As of 3/12/2020, the ADL has suspended this walk due to coronavirus.)
You can see the fluid situation we are all in together with the COVID-19 coronavirus. We need to remain flexible.
Sermon beginning 2020, based on John 1:10-18. Showing us a productive way of heading into the new year on a solid footing, understanding the role Jesus plays in our lives. Come and watch. All are welcome. Have a blessed 2020.