After spending a beautiful Saturday outside with my family, paddleboarding and skateboarding in the gorgeous weather, I flopped down on the couch and opened social media to discover the horror show that occurred in Charlottesville earlier in the day.

My heart sank.

The thought that kept coming to my mind that evening is the same one that has been ringing in my head all week: I thought we were better than this.

The violence in Charlottesville has reminded many of us in the white community of what our brothers and sisters in the black community have known for a long time: the evil force that is white supremacy is alive and well. It is active among us. It has a voice, hands, and feet. It has leaders and weapons.

I have had the privilege of choosing to believe that white supremacy is just a tiny community of narrow-minded people that don’t actually occupy the same world I do. I know many of my friends have chosen to believe the same. I was proven wrong on Saturday. I am humbled by how wrong I was.

The events last week in Charlottesville were a watershed. It is long past time for us to take an active, powerful, Christian stance against the scourge of racism and all of the ways it is made manifest in both symbol and action in our society. As an historic congregation, we have a unique opportunity to model for the world ways to ask questions, to fight bigotry, to live with authenticity, to ask forgiveness for our sins, to act out our baptismal vows every single day, even when it feels impossible.

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Our community has embarked upon a period of learning and self-study to better understand our history and present with regards to discrimination, slavery, and racism in our church and wider community so that we can move into the future as a congregation bound together to love one another and fight against hatred wherever we see it rearing its head. Over the next year, we will be learning how to live more fully into the holy, loving people God created us to be.

All are welcome to journey with us. Bring an open mind and heart ready to be changed.

To God be the glory.