A letter from Pastor Diane Hoppe Hugo, June 1, 2020
Dear Friends and Family of MCPC,
A few notes below that are related to yesterday’s sermon, “What Now?!?”
As promised, I am forwarding the PCUSA Call to Action [download Call to Action at link below] which has two concrete actions for us to take now. In addition, I want to pass along an excerpt from a letter I recently received, and finally I invite you to join me in a “21 Day Racial Justice Challenge.”
We made the commitment to become a Matthew 25 congregation and one of the commitments therein is to work for the dismantling of structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty. In all of our very best intentions, there is so much we have yet to understand from those who are crying out for justice. Miroslav Volf, Director, Yale Center for Faith & Culture and Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale Divinity School, offers a humbling perspective for us to all consider:
Before speaking about victims and to victims I need to listen. …
If I think I already understand the other and their behavior, I have intellectually closed myself to them and my image of them has become unresponsive to who they are and to who they want to tell me that they are. I am then ready to judge, to declare their behavior either as good or bad, to condemn or to praise it. My presumed understanding can easily then become a form of closing myself off to them, even a form of exclusion. Then even in my attempt to embrace them, I may actually exclude them because I do not understand them as they understand themselves. Even in my attempt to be in solidarity with them, I can actually betray them because I am not in solidarity with them as they understand solidarity and themselves in the need of solidarity. For this reason, my posture should not be one of offering perspectives on how they should engage in the struggle against injustice, deception, and violence to which they are exposed.
And, in a letter from our Presbytery [download the letter at link below] Cindy Kohlmann and TJ DeMarco very passionately call us to “be moved by righteous fury to decisive action. It is time for us to truly be the body of Christ, following where Jesus leads, living into the Matthew 25 vision, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and actively working so that God’s kindom may truly come on earth, on this earth, today.”
Among the resources they offer is https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/matthew-25/racism/which will bring you to something called the 21-Day Racial Justice Challenge. The challenge invites us to do something every day to raise awareness about the perniciousness of racism and encourage action in response to that awareness.
Would you do this with me? I would greatly appreciate as many of you who are willing to engage, with me, in caring and loving discussion as we progress through the challenge together. I have not set a date to begin just yet, so it will be helpful to know what might work best for the most of you.
May God show us how to continue our mission in holy partnership,