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As news and video footage continues to break and circulate following the fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya, my heart remains heavy. I grieve with the family of this young man, shot to death by a Grand Rapids police officer who was supposed to serve and protect the people of this city. Patrick was a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whose family, like myself, sought a better and safer life in the United States of America. It is heartbreaking that his life was cut short in this way.

This painful event hits close to home for many sisters and brothers in the Reformed Church in America family. We have churches in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and many General Synod Council staff work out of the Michigan Regional Center in Grand Rapids. The community here is shaken in ways that other communities have unfortunately experienced firsthand.

In the wake of this tragedy, I ask you to pray for the city of Grand Rapids and its leaders. Pray for God’s peace and justice amid turmoil and unrest. Pray for wisdom for the city’s leaders. Pray for the Lyoya family as they mourn.

Pray, too, for cities and communities that are similarly affected by police violence and racial injustice. Pray for peace in the United States and Canada as well.

As we join in prayer together, I invite you to participate in the RCA’s second annual day of prayer and fasting for justice and reconciliation on May 25, the anniversary of George Floyd’s death. This year, the Office of Advocacy and Race Relations is creating a prayer journal for racial justice and beloved community centered around the Lord’s Prayer. Reflection contributions come from representatives from the RCA’s racial/ethnic councils. This journal and other prayer and fasting resources for justice and reconciliation will be available in early May.

Finally, I encourage you to visit to find ways to participate in dismantling racism in the RCA and resources to help. The Office of Advocacy and Race Relations will also soon be introducing trauma healing resources, including information about how to start local trauma healing groups for churches and communities that have been impacted by racism, suicide, abuse, the pandemic, and more.

Lord, hear our prayers. Lord, have mercy.

—Eddy Alemán
General secretary
Reformed Church in America