Facing Racism

In the late spring of 2020, in the midst of the early days of the COVID lockdown, our country experienced some of the largest peaceful and violent protests that had been seen in decades.  The protests sparked by the death of George Floyd started in Minneapolis and cascaded in communities, cities all over the country and the world.

We all wrestled with the “what and why” of the protests.  For some this was the beginning of a journey of coming to grips with centuries of racism. For others, the protests were a reminder of the hard work they had already done to create the conversations and actions to stop racism in our culture, society and communities.

This week the trial of Derek Chauvin concluded. Yet the struggle for a world free of racism continues.

The Presbytery of Twin Cities a year ago found themselves amid the epicenter of protests and calls for action.  They had to mobilize and engage whether they were ready or not.

We are all on a journey of learning, engaging and taking the next steps to undo the blatant and subtle racism that permeates our daily and spiritual lives. The conclusion of the Derek Chauvin Trial is not the end of our work but a milestone to remind us to keep moving forward. We are committed.

Statement on the verdict in the Derek Chauvin Trial

Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area – April 20, 2021

Nothing will bring George Floyd back. Nothing will undo the trauma to his family or to our wider community — especially to our Black friends, family, and colleagues.

Consequences matter, but let us not mistake a verdict for God’s liberative justice.

While Derek Chauvin will have consequences for this soul-stealing act, we pray that our community does not mistake this moment as “the conclusion” to a deeply painful and contentious year. The work of justice-seeking is wider than one trial alone; it must be part of our lifelong daily spiritual practice.

The truth is that we are still at the beginning of a journey as a community — one to which people of color have been calling us for over 500 years. In particular today, we look to the long history of Black resilience, resistance, joy, wisdom, holy outrage and wholeness as testimony, teaching, and call to action.

Siblings, we are living through an era of reckoning with a long and painful history in Minnesota that dates back to before its founding and which has allowed the conditions for racist violence to flourish.

As a majority-white presbytery, our particular journey is one of asking ourselves hard questions about our own systems, as well as our complicity in the brutal systems in our communities, and committing ourselves to the work of eradicating them.

So let’s not stop now. Let’s move beyond a Minnesota “Nice” that likes things comfortable, polite and quiet, toward being a Minnesota willing to get real about our deep issues and engage in powerful conversations. As Christians, we look to the kin-dom of God while also striving to reimagine community systems, led by the vision of the gospel and anti-racist people of color, so that we might embody peace and wholeness now.

Dreams of a better way to live together may seem audacious at this painful moment in our common lives, but we worship a God who does powerful, audacious things. So we hold onto this hope, a fire that burns in our souls, unsettling us from our previous ways and fueling our conviction as we move forward.

Jean Emmons, Moderator of the PTCA

Greg Bolt, Vice Moderator

Diana Barber and Jamie Schultz, co-chairs, Presbytery Leadership Team (PLT)

Barbara Lutter, Stated Clerk

Jeff Japinga, Executive Presbyter

Steve Robertson, Treasurer

Kendra Grams, chair, PTCA Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF)

Anna Kendig Flores,PTCA Anti-Racism Coordinator