June 8, 2020
To Our Athens Community,
Like you, we cannot ignore racism and police brutality. And like you, we believe that it must stop even though changing systemic issues feels daunting.
We believe change is built on our relationship with Jesus and our willingness to hear and see each other as we are and through His eyes. As difficult as that is, we, the Athens Georgia Seventh-day Adventist Church, are choosing to commit to this way and do our part.
a daily surrender to Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We’re asking Him to be in charge of every part of our lives and the way we function as a church body.
repenting of the racism that has been part of our own congregation’s story.
working through the process of forgiveness. There are those we must forgive and those we must ask to forgive us for words and actions that have helped to perpetuate racial divides.
providing our church with resources that help us work through change. Such resources (documentaries, written works, and conversations) will be from and with people who have extensive experience with race education.
getting to know our local police force, especially the officers who most often work within the neighborhoods surrounding our church building. This knowledge will help us become more aware of challenges specific to our area and give us opportunities for helpful collaboration and relationship building between police officers and community members.
In time, a focus on those five points will help us to:
challenge our individual and collective assumptions about each other through bias training. These conclusions are often based on years of unconscious influence that hasn’t been questioned.
not ignore color and other characteristics that God has given to us but see our characteristics as valuable parts of our experiences and see each other as equal before God and deserving of respect.
None of this will be possible without the Holy Spirit. As we prayerfully seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the days ahead, we look forward to being part of the Kingdom of God while we’re still on this earth.
With committed hearts,
Athens Georgia Seventh-day Adventist Church
Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly (Micah 6:8)