CHICAGO, April 20, 2021–The Evangelical Covenant Church affirms the decision today by the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial to convict him on all charges in the killing of George Floyd. While we hope this brings George Floyd’s family and the people of Minnesota some consolation, our country’s work around racial righteousness and reconciliation is not done.
The fact remains that George Floyd’s life was needlessly taken. George Floyd’s death illuminates a broader issue regarding the frequency with which deadly force is deployed by law enforcement against Black and Brown citizens and neighbors when alternative choices—non-lethal choices—could and should be made. This is not an indictment of all police officers. We know many serve with dignity, equity, and selflessness, and we applaud them and commend their service. However, when an officer demonstrates disregard for human life, as was the case with Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, law enforcement must be held accountable. We implore officers who serve with integrity and protect our communities to willingly lend their support and voice to hold other officers accountable whenever they abuse their power.
We urge the state of Minnesota and the entire United States to view this trial as a catalyst to create lasting change and tactical reform within police departments. Let George Floyd’s life not be taken in vain.
We must continue to speak up and practice solidarity. In Luke 10, an expert in the law famously asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” George Floyd was our neighbor, made in God’s image, and that image was violated when his life was violently taken. The sin that informs a legal system that works for some and against others is worthy of our lament and calls us forth as ambassadors of reconciliation. We all must name the sin of racism by speaking truth in love. Not doing so has led us to this perilous time.
We must also not grow weary in standing in solidarity with those who have been wronged and treated unjustly. There is no quick or easy fix to heal our pandemic of racism. It will take time and every single one of us. This is a systemic problem, and we must continue to actively work–every day–to address it while working to reconcile relationships within disenfranchised communities. This is one of the most important discipleship issues before us. In this watershed moment, we pray that our sacrificial love for one another bears witness to who and whose we are.
As a denomination, we pray that pastors and faith leaders across the country invest in discipleship resources that give individuals eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts that respond. Racial righteousness should be a part of our everyday lives, interwoven into who we are and integrated into everything we do. To understand the whole gospel is to understand that racial righteousness is a part of discipleship. May we all understand this truth and work together to bring personal, systemic, and real transformation in our communities.
The Evangelical Covenant Church
– Rev. John Wenrich, president
– Rev. Dominique Gilliard, director of racial righteousness and reconciliation
– Rev. Mary Chung March, chair of the Mosaic Commission and president of the Covenant Asian Pastors Association
– Rev. Bryan Murphy, president of the African American Ministers Association
– Rev. Juana Nesta, president of the Asociación Latina de la Iglesia del Pacto Evangélico
– Rev. Paul Robinson, executive minister of Love Mercy Do Justice
– Rev. TJ Smith, president of the Indigenous Ministers Association
– Rev. Angela Yee, chief ministry officer