The 2020 James River Presbytery Moderator is calling for a Day of Prayer on June 19, 2020
Three months ago I wrote an email urging our churches to live out our connectionalism and to observe a day of prayer and fasting in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today I write in a similar spirit urging us to live out our gospel unity and to observe a day of prayer in light of the demonstrations for racial justice within our region and our nation.
Many of you know that our church—City Church of Richmond—worships in the sanctuary of a historic mainline congregation located on Monument Avenue between Lee Circle and Stuart Circle. From my third floor office, I have had a front row seat on the demonstrations of the last ten days. While there is much about the protests I don’t understand and much within the rhetoric I don’t agree with, the calls for justice for all people are unmistakable. It would be wise for us to hear these cries for justice, to lament the ongoing racial sin and broken-ness in our world, and to ask our Savior Christ to heal our land.
I would encourage the elders and churches of the James River Presbytery in two specific ways: 1) reconsider the 2018 report of the Ad Interim Committee on Racial and Ethnic Reconciliation (attached); and 2) observe a Day of Prayer for Racial Justice and Reconciliation.
1) The Christian church in general, and our denomination in particular, has spoken to the issues of racial injustice before. Current circumstances offer us another opportunity for examination and repentance; an opportunity which can be guided by the Report of the Ad Interim Committee on Racial and Ethnic Reconciliation. As you read it and encourage members in your church to do the same, pay particular attention to the recommendations provided to local churches and to presbyteries. Is it time for the JRP to form a committee (whether standing or ad hoc) for the purpose of racial reconciliation? Can we affirm that a commitment to racial reconciliation is evident in our ministry funding priorities and goals as a presbytery?
2) While some of our churches have already called for Days of Prayer for Racial Justice and Reconciliation in response to recent demonstrations, I ask you all to consider joining together in a Presbytery-wide Day of Prayer for Racial Justice and Reconciliation on Friday, June 19, 2020.* You (and your churches) are invited to participate in the ways that best align with your local context.
Together in Christ,
*As you may know June 19th is Juneteenth
, an important day in American history, known as African-American Independence Day. It marks the day in 1865 when the Emancipation Proclamation was read to enslaved African-Americans in Texas, the last of the Confederate states to receive that news.