Loving All Our Neighbors
In the wake of the recent protests over police brutality and the underlying racism in our nation, First Presbyterian Church of Elkhart affirms that Black Lives Matter. We grieve with Black Americans at the killing of George Floyd and the continued discrimination against people of color.
As Christian people we affirm wholeheartedly that God is the giver of all life and values all people equally. Jesus taught us that people of faith are called to “Love your neighbor as yourself” and clarified in the parable of the Good Samaritan that “your neighbor” includes everyone.
At this time we are committed to being better neighbors to people excluded from opportunities because of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. These same have been the victims of violence, the threat of violence, bullying and demeaning language or actions. We renounce words and behaviors that diminish the dignity of human life made in the image of God.
First Presbyterian in Elkhart has long been concerned about racially related violence. In 1999 our church was shocked and outraged by the tragic killing of Sasezly Richardson, a minority Elkhart student, and at that time established an annual peacemaking award in Sasezly’s memory, given to students who seek to diminish conflict among their peers. It was a great beginning, but we can do more.
As a people of faith we want to engage in thinking and actions that will draw people in Elkhart together across racial/ ethnic lines, and we want to be part of conversations about ensuring there is justice for all people in our community. So we 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.
We believe all lives matter to God and we will work in the future to demonstrate our affirmation of this belief in what we say and what we do.