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This week's eNote

June 2, 2020 Pastor curt bissell

In Times Like These

“I’m your online campus pastor. I’m here for prayer, questions and chat.” 

I’ve been typing those words every Sunday for close to the last two years. The last few months those words have been more important than ever. 

And in times like these…

I’m more grateful than ever to be a part of the Garfield Memorial.

In times like these…

The nation watched a Minneapolis police officer kneeling stone faced on the neck of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man. Several other officers stood by doing nothing as Floyd cried out for help, pleading for his life. “I... Can’t... Breathe.” 

In protest, grief and fear, thousands of people across the country have taken to the streets. Unfortunately, some of those protests turned violent. At times, outside agitators. Other times, angry protestors. Even police officers charged with keeping the peace. 

Peace has not ruled in the last week. Division. Hatred. Anger. Fear. These things have ruled the day. At the heart of it all: 

Racism. A spiritual sickness and sinfulness in the United States. 

I am no expert. Yet, I’ve learned a few things about race while serving as your online campus pastor. Thankfully, I’m still learning. 

Here is what part of what I have learned recently in regards to racism - systemic and individual:

I am part of the problem. 

Because I am white. Because I am a man. Because I am educated. Because I have privilege. 

I am also part of the solution. 

Because I am white. Because I am a man. Because I am educated. Because I have privilege. 

How can I be part of the solution? By listening. By asking. By standing alongside of those who suffer oppression and discrimination and racism. By being a voice for the voiceless.  

How else? By giving a voice to the voiceless. By giving up my voice so the oppressed can speak. By giving up my leadership to give power to the powerless.  

I have learned these things and much more from the people of Garfield Memorial. That is the beauty and power of our faith community. We are built for times like these. 

We are called to overcome. 

We are called to shine in the darkness. 

We are called to bring Heaven to Earth.

May we all be part of the solutions for peace, for equality, for equity, for transformation, for Christ. 

Thank you for allowing me to be your online campus pastor. 

Thank you for being the body of Christ in times like these.