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Ecumenical Event Responds to Racism

Six RCA members attended the annual meeting of Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A. February 14-17 in Memphis, Tennessee. CCT is an ecumenical group with members from all the faith families that make up Christianity in the United States: Catholic, evangelical, Pentecostal, historic Protestant, Orthodox, and the historic black church.

At the meeting, 85 leaders from member organizations sought to better understand and more effectively organize to combat racism and poverty in America. TDV in small group During the meeting, participants visited sites related to racism in the U.S., including an Underground Railroad safe house and the National Civil Rights Museum.

"CCT is a picture of what it means to set aside our differences and focus on our unity in Christ and in Christ's proclamation that he came to 'bring good news to the poor...the captives...the blind...the oppressed,'" says Kate Davelaar, a Hope College chaplain who represented the RCA at the event.

"As we in the RCA continue to live into Our Call, as we navigate what it means to put 'feet' to the adoption of the Belhar as one of our confessions, we have much to learn from our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

"Only unified with one another will we be able to work for justice and reconciliation."

"At the end of our meeting, Worship all of the delegates shared our understanding of what we had discussed and where we stand as an organization relative to poverty and racism in America," says Thomas Hung Yong Song, synod area minister for the Synod of New York and another RCA delegate to CCT. A committee drafted a statement calling its member churches and organizations to "act for the wellbeing of all, to advocate for equity for the poor, to pursue justice, and to practice the love and nonviolence that Jesus teaches."

"RCA runs diverse ministries to fight racism through various layers like ethnic councils, multiracial initiatives and social justice, and a white privilege task force," Song says. "The [CCT statement] supports efforts to fight racism in the RCA, and it can also stimulate these offices to fight racism that has been residing in our systematic thinking, organizational structures, and communications."

The RCA delegation also included general secretary Tom De Vries, ecumenical associate Wes Granberg-Michaelson, and pastors Sarah Palsma and James Seawood.

Posted 02/28/12

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