An inclusive, Christ-centered community making a difference.


Like so many of you, I watched the video released yesterday of Daniel Prude's fatal mental health arrest in horror. Eerily similar to the other videos we have come to know so well over the last few months, this murder was different in one important way — it happened here. In Rochester. In the very same city where we live and breathe and worship.

In other words, this happened in our neighborhood.

To be clear, the lives of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and the countless other human beings whose names we do not know, do not matter any less because they were not from this city. All Black Lives Matter. Yet, right or wrong, we feel this one more acutely. After all, we recognize that street. We've been there. We've driven by. Some of us have even stopped.

This happened in our neighborhood.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is fundamentally the call to love our neighbor as ourselves. When George Floyd's neck was kneeled upon for 8 minutes and 46 seconds by a police officer in Minneapolis, or Breonna Taylor awoke to police breaking down her door in Louisville, or Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by an officer in front of his three-, five-, and eight-year-old sons in Kenosha, we may have been able to convince ourselves that they were too far away to really be our neighbors.

This happened in our neighborhood.

So, how will we love our neighbors in this moment? Like so many of you, my first impulse is to do something. I also know that what we do matters, lest we cause more harm. Over the next few days and weeks, we will be listening as new details emerge and seeking ways that we, as a community of faith, can participate in the reforms that are so desperately needed. We are fortunate that the Racial Justice Advocacy group has already been formed and they have committed to putting concrete steps to support anti-racist policies in front of our congregation in the weeks ahead.

As individuals of faith, one of the places we can begin is with ourselves. If you have been avoiding having these conversations or putting off educating yourself on the realities of racism, this is yet another opportunity for engagement. As was our stated commitment earlier this summer, the staff both individually and together have been reading, discussing, and engaging in the difficult process of confronting our own racism and working on the daily task of becoming anti-racists. We invite you to join us.

Finally, because this happened in our neighborhood, you will likely be in more conversations about this murder than the others of this summer.Look for those moments when — in the face of fear, misinformation, or racism — you can personally offer a word of truth, love, or grace. Perhaps the most powerful tool we have to affect change is our own voice. Let us each commit to using it.

This happened in our neighborhood. By God's grace and through our love, let us work to make sure it never happens again.

Grace and Peace,