The Classis Lake Erie racial justice team has been commissioned to:
- Gather stories from CLE congregational leaders and pastors to gain a deeper understanding of historical and present racial injustices or inequities existing within the communities in which our congregations serve.
- Gather stories from CLE congregations to gain an understanding of the racial barriers that exist between our CLE congregations, particularly between our current reality of majority Korean and majority white congregations.
Work alongside CLE congregations to develop actionable steps toward bridging racial divides, confronting racial injustice, and lamenting the church’s complicity in harm to brothers and sisters of color.
- Build on and bridge the work of similar teams at the congregational level in CLE
Serve as a theological resource, bridge-builder, and catalyst for collaboration between congregations who seek to unite in the work of lamenting injustice, confronting prejudice, and modeling shalom to our communities.
- Present actionable items which emerge from CLE congregations (i.e. listening events, nights of lament, trainings, bridge-building initiatives, or story-telling evening) to Classis. Context: The unity, reconciliation, and justice of God is both a mandate and a gift for the church in the world. Scripture testifies consistently that justice is a central characteristic of God which is manifest in Christ’s work, a gift that welcomes us to learn from diverse perspectives, witness the global impact of Christ’s work, and cherish the image of God in every human being. We are saved from the wages of sin, and gratitude calls us to right action (Romans 6). As God’s Kingdom emerges, we are mandated to participate in the transformation of not just individuals but also structures formed by sin (Ephesians 2:12-16, Galatians 3:28), beginning first with our own biases and blind spots. We recognize that we as a Classis strive to represent a reconciled body of Christ, one where all nations, cultures, and ethnicities can work and worship together, yet we lament that we so often fall short. While national instances of racial abuse and injustice can prompt quick responses of anger, fear, or denial, we seek to create a team which will support our congregations in promoting the project of racial reconciliation, which Dr. Brenda McNeil defines as an “ongoing spiritual process involving forgiveness, repentance and justice that restores broken relationships and systems to reflect God’s original intention for all creation to flourish.”*
*Brenda Salter McNeil 2016, The Project of Reconciliation, 22.
Racial Justice Team Members:
Rev. Joseph Hunsuk Bae – Pastor, Ann Arbor Hope CRC
Pastor David Beck – Pastor, Ann Arbor Hope CRC
Carl Bieber – Resonate Global Mission Regional Catalyzer
Rev. Nathan Groenewold – Director, Cohort Detroit
Rev. Dara Nykamp – Pastor, Campus Edge Fellowship , Michigan State University
Rev. Mark Van Andel – Pastor, Hesed Community Church
Rev. Rhonda Workman – Chaplain, St. Mary Mercy Hospital