Time for Action and Reflection
Burleson, Tex. – In early June, this official response was shared on behalf of the Southwestern Union leadership and ministries.
The Southwestern Union acknowledges the pain and outcry of millions of Americans over the horrific and inexcusable killing of George Floyd at the hand of four police officers in Minneapolis, Minn. Our hearts break for the families that have suffered this tremendous loss. We are heartbroken knowing that there are individuals in our Church and in our communities who face fear and hate on a regular basis. We recognize the turmoil that this and similarly unjust incidents have caused our community and our country. Today, we know the names of several Black Americans who have unjustifiably lost their lives, but we also must acknowledge there may be names we will never know.
The Southwestern Union condemns these killings and the racist and hateful behavior that contributes to such atrocious acts. The Southwestern Union stands in solidarity with the peaceful protests across the Southwestern Union territory and the United States calling for police reform, legislative change and societal action. We affirm and join their call for justice to be served for the victims and their families.
The Southwestern Union does not condone the violence that has occurred at some of these protests that has resulted in damage and unrest. A small group of individuals with ulterior motives should not eclipse the tremendous efforts of thousands of peaceful demonstrators exercising their first amendment rights. We praise the demonstrators that have intervened to ensure violence does not occur and we thank the law enforcement officers that have demonstrated restraint and stood alongside protesters in solidarity.
As Seventh-day Adventists we celebrate our uniquely diverse denomination, but we must do more to bridge the gaps created by racism and inequality that allow injustice to continue to occur. The Southwestern Union recognizes that more must be done within our organizations, churches and schools. We want our members to know we hear you. We are listening.
In an effort to begin having conversations and discovering ways to improve, we invite you to reach out to us. We want to hear from you. What ways have we as a union, conference, ministry or church been exclusive, behaved with prejudice or treated individuals unfairly? What way can we be more inclusive? How can we educate our members? How can we support unity? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On June 9, the Southwestern Union hosted a special Union-wide day of prayer. We invite members across the union to engage in prayer as we continue seeking God’s guidance. Join our weekly prayer meeting at 7:30 CT/6:30 MT. You can find details on how to join at SouthwesternAdventist.org/Prayer.
As the body of Christ in the Southwestern Union, we can make a difference. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that
love is the answer: it always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.
Let us love our neighbors as Christ has called us to do. Stand up, speak out, educate yourself and your families. We can stand together, support each other and behave in Christ-like manner. Let us take a close look at ourselves and see where we can do better, imploring the Holy Spirit to “create a new heart and renew a right spirit” within each and every one of us.