The Director of Ministries, Ministry Team Leaders and staff of the Ministry Council of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church are grieving the loss of life in the name of division, hate and racism. We confess, now, that our individual and group efforts for reconciliation have been neither visible nor audible.
Being guided by the Scriptures, we find the negligence for human life in Charlottesville, Virginia, and in communities throughout the United States to be in opposition to Jesus’ commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength” and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31).
Being guided by our Confession of Faith we are called to promote reconciliation, love and justice among all persons, classes, ethnicities and nations in our neighborhood, in our churches, in our workplace, in the public space and throughout the world.
Therefore, we promise to no longer remain silent, linger or delay but commit ourselves to oppose, resist and to seek change in all circumstances of oppression, whether political, economic, cultural and racial, that denies persons the essential dignity God intends for all creation.
—Confession of Faith of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America 6.30–6.32
We confess, O God, that we allow our eyes to see only what we want to see. We travel to places where we feel most comfortable and accepted. We express words without thinking and seldom measure how they may tear down rather than build up. We share love only when we are confident that it will be reciprocated and insist that our beliefs are the best. We allow others to push, pull and speak for us so that we do not have to.
We confess that we ignore others! We confess that exploitation exists in our very being! We discount, avoid, and overlook that each human being is created in your image, measuring your creation with strange formulas of worth. Forgive us when we see and treat your human creation as mere objects, things or even possessions.
Help us to elevate human dignity beyond mere categories. Forgive our failing to stop injustice whenever we encounter its destructive realities. Instill in us a new character, a new posture, a new perspective, a new mindset that becomes the message and ministry of reconciliation, love and justice among all and for all persons so that good transcends evil and love transforms hate. Amen.