June 5, 2020

Inequity and Justice

The COVID-19 pandemic rages on, a bit weakened in its spread, but still a major threat with over 100,000 deaths and a severe economic downturn. In tandem, many in our nation are outraged by yet another murder of a Black man - George Floyd, by law enforcement in Minneapolis, and have reacted with multiple days of protests. These realities directly impact our church communities as we tentatively contemplate the reentry to our church buildings in a yet to be determined future.

Inequity and justice are common threads among these realities. With COVID-19, it has been well reported that Black and Brown people have died from this disease in far greater numbers than their presence in the general population due to disparities in our healthcare systems, health conditions and occupations. How can we as church community and church leaders be part of the solution in addressing these disparities?

In the area of policing and safety, inequity in treatment and the call for justice has been continuous throughout the history of this country. Our church has made attempts to prioritize anti-racism and racial reconciliation initiatives. Have congregants and leaders made a commitment to be part of this important work for themselves, families and church communities?

There are also potential inequity and justice issues in our reentry plan for churches. While contemplating social distancing and cleaning guidelines, let us also consider whether our reentry plans favor high risk or low risk individuals, seniors or younger congregants, technology savvy or technology challenged people, adults over children, no outreach or robust outreach ministries, access to liturgies with communion for some and not for others, pastoral care for some and not for others, and other areas not yet contemplated. Will the church still be a welcoming place for all?

Let us continually pray for mindfulness and conviction to address the many issues of inequity and justice in our society.