Black Lives Matter to God and To Us
Black Lives Matter
As a community of faith, we affirm the inherent dignity and worth of each person, regardless of background, as created and beloved children of God. We believe that beyond mattering, black lives inspire, uplift, bring beauty, spread wisdom, and make the world an infinitely more wonderful place.
However, the society in which we live does not accord equal worth to each person. Racism, anti-blackness, and its violent and discriminatory fruit in our society have been well documented.
Throughout its history the church has been called upon to specifically affirm the dignity of persons whose lives are threatened by adversity and societal sin. When systemic racism, implicit bias, and notable incidents of violence put into question whether our society truly values black lives, our congregation believes it is important to affirm the particular dignity, beauty, gifts, and worth of black people. Thus, we make a public witness that black lives matter.
Our statement that “Black Lives Matter to God and to Us” is not an endorsement of the national Black Lives Matter organization. That organization—and its local affiliates—do express core values that resonate with Christian values, including empathy, the necessity of family-friendly spaces, and intergenerational cooperation. But it also advocates for a range of policies on contentious issues about which Session has not and will not take a position. Thus, our banner is not an organizational endorsement but is WPC’s affirmation that the lives of black people matter to God and to us.
We proclaim with this banner the theological truth that black lives matter to God. We are all God’s children, loved and celebrated by God. The image of God is planted deep within every person, people, and race. Through this banner, we also prayerfully point to the work that we must do as a church, as individuals, and as a society so that, according to God’s vision, a day will come when every life—already valued and beloved by God—will be equally valued by all of God’s children.
And to Us
This all-embracing love of God is what we seek to proclaim in our world. Our mission statement declares that “…we welcome all with open arms.” Our bulletin each week proclaims that all are welcome “…no matter…what you look like.” And our session has voted to be a Matthew 25 congregation within the PCUSA, which includes the commitment to “Dismantling Structural Racism by fearlessly applying our faith to advocate and break down the systems, practices and thinking that underlie discrimination, bias, prejudice and oppression of people of color.”
We want those who see us either on-line, or passing by on Willow and Hibbard, but do not know us — who have never set foot in our building, joined us in worship, or participated in our programing — to know who we are and what we believe and value. We want them to know without a doubt that black lives matter to us.
Our banner signals solidarity with victims of racism, particularly African Americans, and that we recognize the systemic racism still afflicting our body politic. It acknowledges the validity of the pain and anger that have been expressed in the demonstrations resulting from yet another killing of an unarmed African American by a police officer.
Naming that black lives matter to us is also our public commitment to intensify our congregational work of anti-racism, to recommit ourselves to ministries of healing, reconciliation, justice, and peace, so that all of God’s children might flourish.