"Black Lives Matter" - "Schwarze Leben zählen"! Unter dieser Überschrift stehen die Proteste in den USA gegen den dort herrschenden latenten Rassismus. Auch in unserer Partnergemeinde der UCC in Westerville/Ohio ist das Thema Rassismus angekommen. Und die Gemeinde bemüht sich, sich mit der Frage nach den Grundrechten der Schwarzen und ihren Benachteiligungen im Alltag auseinanderzusetzen. Doch einfach ist dies nicht. Die Pfarrerin unserer Partnergemeinde in Westerville Sigrid Rother hat gemeinsam mit ihrem pastoralen Team zu einer klaren - auf der Basis des Evangeliums beruhenden - Einstellung gefunden. Vor wenigen Tagen hatte sie es in einem Rundschreiben an alle Gemeindeglieder veröffentlicht. Der englische Text dieses Schreibens folgt unten.
Die Ev. Kirche im Rheinland hat inzwischen mit der Pastorin Rother ein Interview geführt. In diesem Interview erfahren wir viel über die Situation in Amerika und speziell auch in Westerville. Dieses Interview können Sie lesen, wenn Sie auf diesen Link klicken:
Hier nun der Originaltext des pastoralen Briefes in Westerville:
Beloved of God,
In response to current events in our city and nation, our hearts are heavy. We are lamenting and crying out to God: How much longer? We need to continue to pray for peace, healing, and understanding. We realize the importance of the power of prayer, but we also affirm that our thoughts and prayers are not enough. We are wondering how we, who call ourselves followers of Christ, can be part of the Pentecost story? How are we allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to blow amongst us and to be a unifying power? How is God moving us, changing us, using us to be part of something which we cannot yet grasp or understand? How is God given us the gift of listening and understanding each other?
We, the members of Westerville Community United Church of Christ, have declared to the world that all are welcome at our church. We “shout” to the world that “guided by the Holy Spirit, we are committed to expanding the ever-widening circle of Christ’s love.” This ever-widening circle of Christ’s love we say is where we “embrace the diversity of God’s own image, which includes people of all ages, races, ethnicities, physical and mental abilities, gender identities, and sexual orientations.” If that statement is who we are, if this is who we profess to be then we must be true to our core values. What are the core values of Westerville Community United Church of Christ?
We share Christ’s love when we ...
- Are warm and welcoming
- Know, love, and care for each individual in our church family
- Look beyond ourselves to make a positive impact in our community and the world
- Meet People on their faith journey and help them live faithfully with life’s questions
- Respect diverse viewpoints and various theological backgrounds
The ministry team of Westerville Community United Church of Christ proposes that our third core value calls us to respond to the current racial tensions in ways that will bring healing to our country. We are to look beyond ourselves and our own comforts to stand in solidarity with our siblings of color. We can no longer stay silent because that does not produce a “positive impact in our community.” Silence only begets silence and silence, in this case, fosters an environment where the death of a detained person is acceptable.
Jesus says when you “do these things to the least of these my brothers/sisters you do it to me.” Many of us have never been “the least of these” in the context of race. Can we take a moment to put ourselves in the place of the other? Can we for a moment realize what it must be like to walk around in someone else’s skin? Have your friends of color told you they feel the eyes of suspicion pointed at them? Do they fear that they will be stopped or detained for no reason other than that their skin color is different?
It’s become clear that there has been and still is racism in our culture. We have seen too many instances of injustice that fall on lines of color. People of color are dying more rapidly from the coronavirus than their white counterparts. People of color are being killed in scenarios of police apprehension at a rate far more than white people. Children of color are falling behind the academic achievements of their white counterparts. We, as disciples of a brown-skinned Savior, need to address such inequities and are called to work together to secure a better future for all of God’s creation.
Pentecost is not just another day. Pentecost is THE day that changed the world as it brings people together. We celebrate and live in this longest church season for a reason - to be united by the Holy Spirit and to live as Christ’s witnesses in the world as we praise God and honor all our sisters and brothers.
We can be people of Pentecost and together be part of the healing process. May we together share the ever-widening circle of Christ’s love in our words and deeds.
The Ministry Team of Westerville Community United Church of Christ,