As we prepare for our Community Meeting after worship this Sunday, August 9th, we submit the following resources for you to consider, if possible, before Sunday’s meeting, or perhaps during this coming week. I also want to share with you the following ruminations.

The mission of Redeemer, New Paltz, that of “Sharing Christ’s Welcome,” might be described broadly as being carried out in three ways:

  1. gathering to praise God in worship,
  2. being built up in our discipleship lives, and
  3. letting God carry us forth into the world to share the Gospel good news of Jesus’ saving love and mercy with others.

We must stay on course. Racism is real. White privilege is real. Rising up as people of faith to be part of Christ’s resurrection work to enact long term change is a holy calling that many of us may only just be waking up to.

We will probably need to keep repeating these phrases. We will probably need to keep reminding ourselves and each other that this is present day work building for a long haul, long term effort. Especially as we move out of week 5 and then with God’s help month 5 and then with God’s help year 5. Especially as surface layers of racial equity get addressed and other major national and global issues present themselves and we get tempted to get distracted or lulled back into complacency.

You, as I, may have begun to see other churches “opening” again in our area. While the natural human inclination as we see this happening might be to wonder if Redeemer should also “open.” So, we wanted to share some thoughts of encouragement and reminders in support of us all:

My sisters and brothers in Christ, as I write to you now for a third week, inviting us to a time of prayer leading to action as a congregation, action rising up against racial injustice; as I write to you I find myself thinking about how we may need to recognize our weakness in order to let the strength and clarity of God be our guide.

The apostle Paul wrote that in answer to his prayers for help in his own struggles, he heard God say, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) These words of encouragement, to find strength through acknowledging vulnerability; these words deserve to ring still in our hearts today.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to walk in solidarity with our brown and black sisters and brothers in the work of Undoing Racism. To this end, as many of you have now heard, we are asked to pray on the way to action as a congregation. On June 28th we will gather after worship for a Community Meeting to discuss our initial feelings and thoughts. If the Spirit so leads, we may even make some decisions on the 28th about some short term steps we might take as a community to make a difference: further study and discussion, linking arms with a local organization or organizations, placing a Black Lives Matter sign on the front lawn of the church, or other ideas you bring.

One thing is certain: we cannot stay silent as a Church, even though some or many of us may feel ill-equipped to know what to do or how to do it.