November 25, 2014
Dear Church Family,
The judgment is in, there will be no trial for the officer who shot and killed unarmed eighteen-year-old Michael Brown. The streets of Ferguson erupted with the flames of anger moments after the news broke. This is a recurring nightmare of violence from which our nation cannot seem to awaken. Our hearts are broken and we are filled with anger at a system that is profoundly broken.
Perhaps you share my sense of despair and sinking hope; how can we be people who speak of hope and reconciliation, justice and community, when we live in a world that is so troubled and brutal?
I want to remind us all that it is in just these moments of deep despair that we need each other the most. We need the courage and conviction of our faith and of our church community to remember that the sadness and anger we feel at what has happened in Ferguson – and the violence that continues to happen all over this country in many, many other communities –will not define us as a people. It must not define us. And it will not have the final word.
Instead, love will have the final word. We must continue to believe that’s the case, because it is this shared conviction that will invite us to actions that will change the world…that must change the world.
In the next few weeks you will be hearing of opportunities to engage in conversations about how we as a community of faith might begin to shift these patterns, both within our own community and in the systems that perpetuate violence and racism in our country. I invite you to join in, to begin building a unified Riverside voice, so we can remind the world what we believe: that righteousness will prevail and that yes, love will have the final word.
With gratitude for you and for the hope you represent,