September 23, 2016

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Statement on Racism

Dear Partners in Ministry,

We invite you to read and consider the requests made in the following statement from leadership in ministries of the Christian Reformed Church.

In Christ,

Colin P. Watson, Director of Ministries and Administration
Steve Timmermans, Executive Director


Statement on Racism

With deep sadness for recent violent events in the United States and Canada, we join others in grieving the deaths of Terence Crutcher, Colten Boushie, and many others across the world. These events, in light of our love for Christ, compel us to speak. 

We recognize that we have remained silent about racial injustice and unjust actions in our nations all too frequently. Our silence on issues of race has been heard more clearly than our calls for reconciliation with God. With this in mind, we encourage Christian Reformed pastors to preach from their pulpits—clearly and prophetically—about God’s call to be ministers of reconciliation, with hearts wide open, willing to sacrifice our pride for the sake of the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:11-6:10).

We confess that, like so many other denominations in North America, the Christian Reformed Church has a history of often finding our unity in our shared ethnicity rather than in Christ. We lament this sin, and encourage congregations to join us in committing to continue our learning about racism and its effects in our lives and societal structures. 

We grieve the deaths of so many as the result of violence. We urge Christian Reformed congregations to pray for our police officers—for their safety and for them to be trained and equipped for responding in non-violent ways. We are grateful for these men and women who risk their safety and their lives, and we owe them our support as they seek to protect and serve. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ understands being falsely accused, persecuted unjustly, beaten and killed. He is the one that we can go to for comfort when we—especially our family members of color—suffer from similar experiences. Jesus is also one who radically spoke up for those being mistreated, who turned over the tables of those seeking to profit in the temple instead of helping others, who welcomed the marginalized and told his followers to do the same. 

Racism strikes at the heart of our discipleship. We invite Christian Reformed pastors to join us in answering God’s call to be ministers of reconciliation and peace, removing all barriers to the gospel message, including racism. In this way, we can better reflect the light of the love we have in Christ in a world that so desperately needs it. 

We want this to be a conversation. We would love to hear from you about how God is at work in your congregation. We invite you to send us a prayer, a sermon, a litany, or something that happened in worship that struck you as profound related to this issue. It is our hope that we will continue to have these conversations as we seek justice and peace—together. 

Gary J. Bekker, Director, Christian Reformed World Missions 
Carol Bremer-Bennett, Director, World Renew United States 
Moses Chung, Director, Christian Reformed Home Missions 
Michael LeRoy, President, Calvin College 
Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo, Director, World Renew Canada 
Jul Medenblik, President, Calvin Theological Seminary 
Darren Roorda, Canadian Ministries Director, Christian Reformed Church in North America 
Kurt Selles, Director, Back to God Ministries International 
Steve Timmermans, Executive Director, Christian Reformed Church in North America 
Colin P. Watson, Director of Ministries and Administration, Christian Reformed Church in North America 

The staff of the CRC Office of Race Relations has compiled a list of resources to help with engaging the issue of racism in preaching and worship. We hope you find these resources to be helpful.

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