Dear Church Family,

About two months ago, the session felt the need to speak out against the ongoing issues of racism that have plagued our nation since it’s inception, and yet continue to be front and center both systematically and in the injustices of innocent lives that have been lost, not just in recent months, but for centuries.  Two of our elders, John Newell and Todd Liljestrand, graciously volunteered to prayerfully craft together a brief statement for session to review that would affirm the biblical mandate for the Church to love our neighbors as ourselves; specifically our black and brown brothers and sisters.  The statement was approved by the session to share with the congregation, and to put on our website to let others know that we, First Presbyterian Church of Boone, strive to work for justice for all. 

In addition, as a church family we’ve been participating in what we’ve called, “The 21-Day Challenge” (see below) that focused our efforts on educating ourselves through reading, watching, and listening to various voices that speak from their own places of oppression, so that we might better understand.   Some of you did this on your own and others participated in small groups to reflect on these issues together.  Reconciliation is the work of Jesus Christ and it’s also been entrusted to the efforts of Christ’s Church to work for God’s righteousness and justice in the world.  Our efforts, even though they seem small, are important as we seek to be faithful to our calling to live as Christ commands us.  I wrote a long article about this back in early June and I want to reiterate what I stated before:

 “The church must stand up and declare the theological truth that God has created each and every one of us in his image and that no one should be treated as “less than,” because God doesn’t make mistakes.   Black lives matter!  While it’s true that all lives matter – it’s important for us to lift up our beaten down brothers and sisters and declare together that they matter to us and to God.  This is not a partisan issue – it’s an issue of faith; allowing our faith and deeds to compliment one another.”   (Pastor Jeff Smith)

It’s important for the congregation to know that the statement crafted and approved by the session is not intended to support any political movement; it’s written to affirm the biblical truths that we are all created in the image of God and that no one should be treated “less than,” because of the color of their skin.  To quote the children’s song, “Jesus Loves The Little Children,” so many of us learned in church growing up: “Red and yellow, black, and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.”  We acknowledge that we are all God’s children, but we must also confront the evils that seek to distort this truth in our society and in the world.  I’m grateful for all of our elders, for the spirit of unity among them, and for their leadership to speak up in such a time as this!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Jeff