Yesterday marks a year since the death of George Floyd. As a white man, I realize that I do not share the experience of racism and violence against indigenous people and people of colour in Canada and the United States. Nor have I experienced the growing pattern of racialized violence towards Asian communities. But I do want to support and uphold my brothers and sisters who face racism on a daily basis.
As followers of Jesus, we are committed to ending prejudice or scapegoating based on ethnicity, gender or any other characteristic. We affirm that all people are children of God, made in the image of God and loved by God. We recognize that sinful structures are deeply embedded in our current context and in our own way of thinking; and while systemic change is never easy, we know it is our duty to seek to bring the peace, justice and righteousness of God into all aspects of our world – including our own systems and structures at ACTS.
In every endeavor at ACTS Seminaries, we intend to both proclaim and demonstrate the love of God revealed through Jesus Christ in our words and actions. One of the first ways we can begin to combat racism in our world is to recognize our own biases. We are all fallen, and our minds are not yet fully conformed to the mind of Christ. We can ask ourselves: How do we resist listening and learning from others? How do we prioritize our experience over the experience of others? In what ways can we make space for those of different backgrounds from us?
We are fortunate at ACTS to be a part of a community of faith that includes members from around the world. As part of this community, we have an immediate opportunity to take this first step – to engage with each other in humility and with an open heart. I realize that COVID complicates this call to true community, but we cannot allow it to close us off from our fellow members of the one body of Christ. I am committed to seeking ways for our diverse community at ACTS to live, learn and worship together.
Recognition and dialogue is a first step, but certainly not the last. Subsequent steps in this journey together may look different for different people, so we encourage you to ask God for guidance. Does this involve having a difficult conversation with a family member or friend about their speech or actions? Or perhaps it looks like elevating the voices of others who struggle to be heard. Regardless, we cannot remain silent.
Thank you for your commitment to following Jesus in all aspects of life. I am grateful to be on this journey with you, and appreciate your efforts to hold me accountable as well. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or are in need of support during this time. We have Chaplains available for pastoral care, and our TWU Wellness Centre counsellors are here to provide mental health support
Grace and Peace,