By Stan Friedman
CHICAGO, IL (December 9, 2014) — Several Covenant churches across the denomination have recently participated in #blacklivesmatter events in the aftermath of the deaths of African Americans in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, and Cleveland, Ohio.
In Chicago, David Swanson, pastor of New Community Covenant Church in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, was one of several local pastors asking churches to rally in their respective neighborhoods following worship services on Sunday. The number of churches participating grew beyond what they imagined.
Several hundred people from the Bronzeville neighborhood participated on the streets in their local event. Another several hundred people showed up at an event in the Lawndale neighborhood, including members of River City Community Church and The House Covenant Church.
Members of Grace Covenant Church marched around their block after their service. Resurrection Covenant Church members stood on a street corner. Members said they received numerous honks of approval and thumbs up.
Cityview Covenant Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will host a community discussion on Thursday night to highlight the need for more open conversations about the relationship between law-enforcement officials and African Americans.
“Our goal is to engage the conversation beyond the social media arena,” Cityview pastor Leann Younger said. “That has its place, but I recently preached a sermon that the place of the church is in the middle of the confusion, frustration, and hurt that people are feeling. It’s our hope that people who participate in the conversation leave having had some questions answered and possibly feeling some sense of urgency for how they can be involved in bringing peace and justice.”
Younger added, “I am overjoyed to see other Covenant churches engaging this issue. It’s a privilege to see the Covenant family stepping forward to really live what it means to be a family united in Jesus.”
It is not just local churches that have made expressions. The banner photo for the Pacific Northwest Conference Facebook page was all black except for the #blacklivesmatter hashtag. Superintendent Greg Yee said the statement was meant to be prophetic, not political.
Covenanters also continue to share a pastoral letter from President Gary Walter noted here.
Walter has said, “My prayer is that we are in fact in a kairos moment, a defining moment that tips to a new reality. We can not grow weary. We will run with perseverance the race before us.”
Shaun Marshall, pastor of Community Covenant Church in Calumet Park just south of Chicago, emphasized the events are not in response to singular events but to address broader issues. He added that he appreciated the support of white friends at other Covenant churches. “Some say I don’t get it, I don’t understand it but because it impacts you, it’s important to me. It’s why I’m proud to be part of the Covenant.”