Demonstrating Justice, Healing, and Hope

A message for our times from the Haddonfield Council of Churches.

Our nation is in desperate need of healing, justice, and hope. The deep wounds of racism that have plagued us for generations have once again been exposed.

In recent weeks, the murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville,, and Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, Ga., have stunned and angered us. We lament each of their lives lost and continue to pray for loved ones who are bereaved. We condemn the senseless killing of these individuals, and of countless others who have not drawn public attention, and we denounce the degradation of their human dignity. 

In response to these deaths, thousands of people across our nation have taken to the streets to bring an end to the killing of unarmed Black people at the hands of law enforcement, to demand justice, and to seek change. 

Here in Haddonfield, our police department condemned these deaths and has committed to engaging our community in positive ways to deepen relationships and work together to address racial bias and racial injustice. Hundreds of Haddonfield residents walked in peaceful demonstration on May 31 and were supported by police officers and first responders as marchers called out, “No justice, no peace.” 

We stand in solidarity with these and other community efforts, and with all people who seek to work peacefully and persistently for justice and an end to the evils of systemic racism and white supremacy. 

We renew our commitment in our various congregations to the loving action and hard work to which our faith compels us in striving for peace born of just and right relationships, for reconciliation, and for the unrelenting witness to the dignity of every human being. 

Each of our traditions has particular gifts through which we tend to our shared vision of healing for the brokenhearted, comfort for those who mourn, and freedom from all that would bind us.  We offer these gifts, and the resources we share, as may be helpful to our wider community. 

While our hearts cry out, “How long?”, we continue to hold out hope that, in working together in positive and powerful ways for justice, we all will finally be freed from the sin of racism and restored in wholeness as one human family.

Faithfully,

Rev. Chris Heckert, Haddonfield United Methodist Church

Virginia Ritchie, First Presbyterian Church of Haddonfield

Louise Senopoulos, Haddonfield Monthly Meeting

The Rev. Jenni Ovenstone Smith, Grace Episcopal Church of Haddonfield

Janis Stuart, First Church of Christ Scientist, Haddonfield

Pastor Anthony C. Talton, Mt. Olivet Baptist Church

Rev. Nevin Warren, Interim Pastor

Rev. Wayne Zschech, Lutheran Church of our Savior