A Message To Abcnj Pastors And Leaders

A wooden cross

Dear Colleagues,

Many of us awoke this morning to the barrage of reports, from news outlets throughout the free world, on the US President’s news conference yesterday and his comments on the tragedy in Charlottesville.

I write to remind us our role as pastors and followers of Jesus is to take on a new and urgent purpose in our day and time as we see the resurgence and rise of racial hate and bigotry in our country.

Beyond any of our political allegiances and ideologies is our mandate to be the presence of Christ in every space we occupy. And so in a time when the winds of hate, bigotry, and racism are again fanning the flames of division and strife in our society we must be mindful these winds also are wafting into the pews of our churches.

So let us, for the sake of the people we serve, be the voice of Jesus. Our Savior was not neutral in the face of injustice and oppression, but as he resisted he called his followers to not return hate with hate, and evil with evil, but instead called us to proclaim God’s kingdom of love. Love which is made visible by the righting of wrongs and the righting of relationships.

Let us guard against being swallowed up into the antagonisms of these times in our conversations. Instead, toward a different path through our words and actions, may we transform and lead our culture from its morass of anger and hatred. In this way we will become the presence of Christ.

I would like to invite our regional family to the following suggested responses:

  1. Organize and gather for special community prayer sessions for peace and unity in our country, and wisdom for our leaders in government.

  2. Engage in focused Bible study on Jesus' teachings on the Kingdom of God.

  3. Preach a sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapters 5 a 7.

These are just suggestions. The goal is to find creative ways to equip ourselves so that we can bring the presence of Jesus into our neighborhoods. May we all be found faithful! .