Christian Action Team for Racial Equity
Background and Stated purpose
First Presbyterian Church of Elkhart has developed a position statement (Loving All Our Neighbors) in response to the tragic murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police patrolmen. In addition, we established a task force (Christian Action Team for Racial Equity) to address this issue and provide direction to Session and our members on race issues. The Team has developed a mission statement that is based on the message delivered in Micah 6:8- Working Together for a Fair, Just and Merciful Community. Session approved the mission statement and the development of the Christian Action Team for Racial Equity.
Our goals are clearly stated in Loving All Our Neighbors:
Through our thoughts and actions, we seek to “commit ourselves to personal examination in order to rid ourselves of the thoughts and patterns of behavior that contribute to racism, and we commit our church to study these issues so we might engage in actions that contribute to communal goodness and build up trust in our beloved City of Elkhart.”
The purposes of the Christian Action Team for Racial Equity are:
- To respond to injustice in our nation and community, especially related to racial inequities and to better understand the Black Lives Matter movement.
- To provide education and awareness for ourselves as members of the task force and for our church and community
- To build relationships across racial lines among churches in the community
- To determine action steps to take in effecting change
Relationship to PCUSA General Assembly
The PCUSA has published a declaration on racism (PCUSA General Assembly Declaration on Racism) in response to the “Black Lives Matter” movement. We agree with the General Assembly’s Declaration and the task force finds that the stated goals and purposes of the Christian Action Team for Racial Equity are based on spiritual guidance and align well with the General Assemblies Declaration on Racism.
Actions taken by Christian Action Team for Racial Equity
- Initiated a self-education program with members called The 21 Day Challenge, a volunteer action involving a 21 consecutive day study of racial inequities reported in ideas, books, published articles. We invite all to participate in this 21 Day Challenge.
- A “Conversation on Race” was conducted with two black members of our congregation sharing their personal experiences involving racial discrimination.
- Invited Mayor Roberson of Elkhart to share his views on how the City of Elkhart is addressing racial inequities.
- Met with Elkhart School Administration to learn what the impact of the Indiana State Department of Education position on Critical Race Theory on teaching racial issues in Indiana. We also inquired why additional racial teaching could not be included in state approved curricula
- Initiated Covid vaccination clinic in the minority community in conjunction with the Elkhart County Health Department, Walgreen Pharmacy and the City of Elkhart.
- Recruited local minorities to join our team for a more in-depth knowledge of local racial inequities.