A Call to Racial Justice – June 11, 2020

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.
He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”  

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom, 1958

The COS Antiracism and Reconciliation (ARRT) and the Prisoners in Christ (PinC) teams commit to actively protest and fight the evils of racism. We plead with other members of Church of the Servant to join us in this struggle. 

We grieve the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020 by representatives of the “criminal justice” system. Rather than write another protest statement, we join in solidarity with the CRCNA Office of Social Justice, The Christian Community Development Association (CCDA),  the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship,  and many other communities of faith who lament the long line of such deaths throughout American history.

Systemic racism is the primary root of injustice in education, housing, jobs, and in court systems in the United States. Our prison system incarcerates more citizens per capita than any other “civilized” country in the world, a disproportionate of whom are people of color. American Christianity is degraded by its acceptance and promotion of racism within its faith structure. Learning to become antiracist is essential to our faith in, and obedience to, God who calls us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) and “present your bodies a living sacrifice….this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1-2)

With the above understanding as foundational, we challenge ourselves and our sisters and brothers at Church of the Servant to move forward on the journey toward “becoming an antiracist and multiethnic community of faith in Christ that intentionally recognizes, exposes and dismantles racism in all its forms.” Antiracism/Reconciliation Statement. There is much work to be done, but let’s begin with two concrete actions:

1)  Engage with at least one person of a race different than our own, using the guidelines for such action found in the CRCNA Racial Reconciliation Statement. Commit to the personal and inter-personal work of looking into our hearts and deepening our understanding of internalized racial superiority (IRS) and internalized racial oppression (IRO). Hold one another accountable by reading, praying and walking the long journey together.

2)  Expand our civic awareness and public advocacy by praying for our elected officials, becoming familiar with issues related to racial justice, and lifting our corporate voice for legislation that dismantles systemic racism and oppression in all its forms. This includes, but is not limited to, participating in public meetings, community forums, and city and county commission meetings. 

More information and a calendar of opportunities to learn, grow and take action are posted on the Antiracism page of the COS website.  

With God’s help, let us together reflect the light of Christ in our congregation, neighborhoods and beyond,

The COS Antiracism and Reconciliation Team: Jolanda Howe, Anneke Kaptyn, Janice McWhertor, Tom McWhertor, Carol Rienstra, Carolyn Strydhorst, Cindy VanderKodde, Arend VanderPols, Ellen Westrate, Lori Wiersma,
and The Prisoners in Christ Team: Hope DeJonge, Nancy Knol, Lucie Marsden, Carol Rienstra, Rich Rienstra, Troy Rienstra, Arend VanderPols, and Andy Vroon.

Note: This call to action was endorsed by Church of the Servant Council at its June 11, 2020 meeting.