My Dear Church Family:
Grace and peace to each of you following a week of experiencing horrific tragedies globally, an alarming resurgence of bigotry and anti-Semitism nationally, and painful and revealing discourse from the highest office of our land to our city streets. I truly believe that it is important for us as people of Christian faith and as followers of the Prince of Peace, to pause and to witness to the gospel of love and unity in light of the events in Charlottesville and all the unfolding incidents, dialogues, and statements that have continued to flow out of that terrible event.
I also believe that the public demonstrations of hatred and violence that took place in Charlottesville last weekend are a kick in the pants to the complacency many of us have been lulled into by the privilege of our own skin color, culture, or religion.
That event, and the subsequent misguided and hateful rhetoric that has followed, serves as a reminder that each and every day there are less public, but as hurtful and painful, acts of bigotry, racism, hatred, mean-spiritedness, and bullying that take place toward others around our nation. These acts come through the words and actions of so many, including our own President, as well as through the deafening silence of other elected leaders, and many religious leaders and people of faith.
As I read the Gospels, I see no other interpretation, no possible misunderstanding, or lack of clarity as to the ministry that each of us is called to through the teachings of Jesus. Ours is a ministry of reconciliation, justice and peace; so we will continue to resist the powers of darkness that seek to overcome and overwhelm the light of love.
Finally, I believe with every fiber of my being, that the Church, our church, the Coral Gables Congregational UCC, should be and is a faith community that voices moral leadership and stands for the values that seem to anger and perturb those who label themselves the alt-right, including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and white nationalists.
Now is not the time to back down, remain quiet, or to tighten the circle of our long-time and bold witness for inclusion, equality, justice, and the rights of all God’s children.
Therefore, we will gather this Sunday, and in the Sundays to come, even as we have for 94 years and sing hymns of praise, and pray prayers of longing and compassion, and to give voice to our faith, and to the love of our God, who is indeed the God of love. I hope you will join us.