A few weeks ago during my sermon on Pentecost Sunday, I made the following comment:
“I fervently believe it is time for the Church again to make some noise. Like the early church at its birth, like those four freshmen in 1960 in Greensboro, NC who sat down at that all-white lunch counter, like those times in the past when Westminster Presbyterian Church has made noise, it is time again for God’s people to cry out against injustice, privilege and exclusion.
Last Sunday evening, the Session of Westminster Presbyterian Church decided to make some noise. In light of the current fear and anxiety present within our immigrant communities along with WPC’s history of protecting and supporting families who face prejudice and hatred, the Session approved the following Statement of Conviction:
Statement of Conviction
We find ourselves at a point in the life of our nation in which a climate of fear, racism, and xenophobia has resulted in official policies and practices that criminalize, detain, and deport undocumented people at new levels, tearing families and communities apart. As people of faith and people of conscience, we challenge actions that undermine due process, allow harassment, racial profiling, and discrimination to go unchecked and that precipitate the targeting and deportation of our immigrant neighbors, many of whom have longstanding roots in the community and American-born children. We affirm the dignity and full humanity of all of our neighbors, regardless of race, national origin, immigration status, gender, orientation, ability or faith tradition. We dedicate ourselves to welcoming, supporting, and protecting those targeted by hate and prejudice. We offer our church as a place of welcome and support, and we will work alongside our friends, families, and neighbors to safeguard the dignity and human rights of all our neighbors in this community – The Session of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Charlottesville, Virginia, June 11, 2017.
With the adoption of this statement, the Session now encourages WPC members and friends to reflect on what this means. What actions might we take as a congregation to safeguard the dignity of our neighbors in Charlottesville? How can we support people held in detention centers or targeted by hatred? How can we care for families separated by deportation? Take a moment to reflect on a comment made by Charlottesville’s ex-Chief of Police: “I can’t imagine what it would be like leaving the house each morning not knowing if I would come home that night to see my kid. . . .”
Over the next two Sundays (i.e. June 18th and 25th) The Peace, Justice, and Inclusion Committee will be hosting speakers following worship who can answer our questions and concerns. If you cannot attend one of these classes, please take time to learn more about this issue and pray for God’s guidance.