Statement Following Violence in Charlottesville, VA
August 15, 2017
The following is a statement issued by The Brethren Church Executive Director, Rev. Steven Cole, regarding the recent violence in Charlottesville, VA
I have watched, like many in America and around the world as the horrific events unfolded in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend. There is no room for ambiguity or doubt in this scenario: violence and hatred are incongruent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hateful acts, violence, racism and discrimination, no matter the form or rationale should not be excused or ignored by the people of God. As one of our pastors shared from the pulpit this weekend, “we must hold these acts up to the Light.”
As Christ-followers, The Brethren Church has long held up the narrative of scripture – particularly the New Testament – as our creed. Jesus is unapologetic in his relentless love for all people. We value life – all life. As such, I would remind all of us that the Gospel commands us to recognize “evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” The acts in Charlottesville were evil. The Gospel of Jesus Christ does not call us into comfort, but rather into a life that builds the Kingdom of God, a kingdom that welcomes all peoples across all boundaries of race, ethnicity, gender, and class.
I implore The Brethren to join me in prayer for those in Charlottesville, particularly the car attack victims and their families. Join me in earnestly seeking how we might be “persons of peace” in our communities, fostering reconciliation, listening and healing, both locally and across our country.
Lastly, of our Brethren pastors and leaders, I pray that you will take this opportunity to lead with the authority entrusted to you in the Gospel, through the local Church and in community with your global Brethren; speak pastorally, speak the truth – however uncomfortable for those that hear it – into this darkness. Call out evil in the world, and lead our congregations courageously toward a world of peace and humility. Lead your flocks to the life-giving waters of Jesus Christ, who consistently placed himself in the service of others, regardless of their station, power, race or class. John 13:35 tells us that the world will know us by our love. Go forth in love!