Ministers issue challenge for change in Rowan County

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 28, 2020

By the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship of  Rowan County

To the community of Salisbury and Rowan County, we the Interdenominational Ministerial Fellowship (IMF) greet you in the love of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. 

It is the providence of God that has our community, country and the entire globe considering what each of us individually and collectively will do to defeat the evils of racism and other injustices.

As cries for justice, fairness, equity, equality and reform powerfully reverberate in the streets of cities locally, statewide, nationwide and worldwide, we are taking an uncompromising stand against racial oppression and injustice.

We’ve seen and experienced the ungodly and unbiblical injustices that have permeated the lives of people of color with the beginning of “explorations” that displaced the original natives of this land — to the forced deportation of enslaved Africans to this land beginning in 1619. 

In the last few weeks, our nation has experienced a wave of grief and shock due to the murder of George Floyd. This senseless death ripped the scab off a wound that needs surgery not a Band-Aid.

Enough has been enough for a long time.

We believe and know that God is concerned and vocal about social justice. 

Throughout scripture, social justice was central to the prophets and to the gospel ministry of Jesus.

Jesus denounced injustice, ministered to the destitute, empowered the meek, and gave voice to the forgotten. 

Systematic racism and inequality must be admitted, acknowledged and addressed in our nation and indeed the world. Denial is no longer acceptable.

This country was built on racism and it is time to rebuild it with love, equality and justice for all. Love must cancel out hate. We must treat every human being with dignity and respect. As Jesus says in Mark 12:31, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We have to stop seeing people as black or white, Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, Catholic or Protestant.” For we are one and precious in the sight of Jesus.

We challenge ourselves, as the IMF, and others in the faith community to stand on the front lines of fighting for change and setting things right. We stand with this community and the nation to root out racism and seek social justice at every level; we believe that we can overcome it.

It is with these understandings and our knowledge about the plight of the people who are impacted by social injustice that we will: 

• Bear witness to the Gospel that unequivocally proclaims social justice for the beloved humanity of God.

• Educate people about the underlying structures of systemic racism, especially educational, health care, judicial, economic, religious, civic and governmental systems.

• Teach truth and empower lovers of God’s social justice to move beyond passive support and become active allies of black and brown people.

• Call for accountability and responsibility by refusing to accept indifference (“It’s not my problem”), claims of innocence (“I’m not a racist”), denial of responsibility (“I don’t see color”), minimizing the issue (“All lives matter”), and/or deliberate helplessness (“There’s nothing I can do”). 

• Work across denominational/religious lines, racial lines, cultural lines, economic lines, political lines and communal lines by standing in solidarity with, lifting the hopes for, and amplifying the voices of Black and brown people who have experienced suffering, pain and violence. In other words, all who endeavor to secure justice, liberty, life, and wholeness.

We believe that if each person can be held accountable for their actions and their own heart’s content, we can begin to heal all of the community of Salisbury, Rowan County and all other areas affected through our actions and prayers as well as be an example for others to follow.  We do believe that “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

Sincerely, The IMF of Rowan County, NC Inc. Churches:

• Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Rickey Johnson.

• Solid Rock Church of God, Pastor Samuel Washington.

• Word of Life Family Worship Center, Pastor Martha Starks.

• Progressive Outreach Ministry Park, Pastor Nasby Mills Jr.

• Dorsett United Church of Christ, Pastor Rick Galloway. 

• New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Vincent Patrick Jones.

•Fairview Heights Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Clarence Marlin.

• Mt Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Nilous Avery.

• Faith Temple Triumphant Ministries, Pastor Henry Diggs.

• At The Cross Ministries, Pastor Debra Ellison.

• First Calvary Baptist Church, Pastor Leamon Brown.

• Mission House, Pastor Anthony Smith.

• Mt Calvary Holy Church, Pastor Eric Susong.