Who is Burning Black Churches?

        What the arsonists of the Black Churches may not realize is that we who are in the Christian tradition, though we may worship in separate houses of God, we are ONE church. So when you burn down Black Churches, you are burning down MY CHURCH. 
        When you set fire to a Black Church, you are destroying the WORD OF GOD because, don’t you know by now, that Black Churches are home to Bible studies, prayer meetings, youth leadership training and spiritual revivals?

        Black Churches are not just filled with Bibles and prayer cards, but with holy and sacred space for the gathering of Beloved Community. The building itself is sacred and holy because within its walls God has heard the cry of God’s children and people have been transformed and saved.

        As a White clergy woman, I cry out: STOP BURNING OUR CHURCHES! These Black Church burnings are cowardly and disgraceful and surely as God is all knowing, God sees this behavior as abominable.

        God wants the Black Church burnings to stop. God wants whoever is responsible to repent, turn themselves in, and seek forgiveness and reconciliation.

        God wants the arsonists to know that when you burn a Black Church, you are destroying God’s Holy Temple. And it must stop now. For God will hold you accountable for all of your deeds, those done in the daylight and those done in the secret of night.

        Who is Burning Black Churches?

        What the arsonists of the Black Churches may not realize is that we who are in the Christian tradition, though we may worship in separate houses of God, we are ONE church. So when you burn down Black Churches, you are burning down MY CHURCH. 

        When you set fire to a Black Church, you are destroying the WORD OF GOD because, don’t you know by now, that Black Churches are home to Bible studies, prayer meetings, youth leadership training and spiritual revivals?

        Black Churches are not just filled with Bibles and prayer cards, but with holy and sacred space for the gathering of Beloved Community. The building itself is sacred and holy because within its walls God has heard the cry of God’s children and people have been transformed and saved.

        As a White clergy woman, I cry out: STOP BURNING OUR CHURCHES! These Black Church burnings are cowardly and disgraceful and surely as God is all knowing, God sees this behavior as abominable.

        God wants the Black Church burnings to stop. God wants whoever is responsible to repent, turn themselves in, and seek forgiveness and reconciliation.

        God wants the arsonists to know that when you burn a Black Church, you are destroying God’s Holy Temple. And it must stop now. For God will hold you accountable for all of your deeds, those done in the daylight and those done in the secret of night.

        Disabilities and Mental Health Justice

        We are part of God’s movement for justice for all and when we say all we include all people and all of Creation.

        In the United Church of Christ, God is calling us to lead a movement for disabilities and mental health justice in the Church. For the past year I have delighted in the honor to serve our beloved church as the minister for disabilities and mental health justice.

        God’s justice has got to start somewhere and I believe that God’s justice starts with claiming and proclaiming our belovedness in whatever physical or mental condition we are experiencing and extending that belovedness to our neighbor in whatever physical or mental condition they are experiencing.

        God’s justice is about honoring the divine light that shines in all of us and in all of creation…no matter who you go see for therapy and medication or your diagnosis or condition or where you are on life’s journey…be that on the ramp, in the elevator, or on the stairs…you and your whole body, your whole mind, your whole spirit are welcome here!

        God’s justice starts with embracing the sacred belovedness that is life with disabilities and life with mental health conditions, including addictions.

        So if we start here, then we can go wherever God takes us! If we start based in our own contextual realities, then we can move forward together. And context matters. In the United Church of Christ we value our diversity and honor the different cultural contexts in which we live, and move and have our being.

        The power of being church and of being beloved community is that Spirit calls us to connect across contexts and cultures.

        I have discovered disabilities and mental health justice is a cross-cultural, inter-cultural, and multi-contextual movement, drawing together all of God’s people.

        The truth is that we all have bodies which yesterday, today or tomorrow will experience disabilities and mental health challenges. And this is true no matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey you will have a disability or mental health challenge of some varying degree at some point.

        This reality propels our movement because disabilities and mental health justice touches everyone, even though stigma tries to silence us and make us invisible.

        Our justice movement must be out loud, in front, and from multiple contexts and cultures. This intersectional work invites everyone to the common table and creates space for all of us. Our belovedness is both unique and universal, humanly manifested and divinely inspired. Justice begins by beholding each person’s belovedness as sacred, worthy of belonging, worthy of love.

        ~ Closing Remarks for Health and Wholeness Advocacy Luncheon at the United Church of Christ 32nd General Synod, Milwaukee, WI, June 23, 2019