August 26, 2020 | Racial tensions in the United States have been raised even further after the recent shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, a black man, by police officers in Wisconsin. This event, like countless others, has amplified the voices of Black Americans and others as they cry out seeking justice for the acts of violence perpetrated against their community.

An official statement by the denomination’s leadership in the North American Division said, “The Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America hears their voices and calls upon our churches and members to serve as conduits of peace and hope to our Black brothers and sisters. We recognize their pain and the injustice they face, and strive to serve as their voices when they are silenced by those seeking to quiet them. Let us call for changes in the way the Black community is treated by those put in positions of trust and protection.

“When acts of racism and violence hurt the Black community, all of us are impacted. As God’s children we can and must do better in the way we equitably treat each other. Jesus Christ proclaimed, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand’ (Matt. 12:25, NKJV).

“Today, we feel anguish that another Black man, Jacob Blake, was shot in the back, in front of his three young children, by those charged to protect and serve our communities. Today, we feel pain for his father, who said, ‘They shot my son seven times … seven times like he didn’t matter, but my son matters. He’s a human being and he matters.’ Today, we feel the anger of our Black brothers and sisters who must continue to endure centuries-old pain and suffering. Today, we feel the sadness of a loving God, who once again must see one of His children become the victim of a violent act. Today, we call for all believers to pray for healing.

“We pray for the healing and recovery of Jacob Blake. We pray for the healing of those whose hearts are filled with hate. We pray for the healing of our country. We pray for an end to systemic racism in our land. We pray for the leaders of our nation who hold the power to enact laws to protect the vulnerable, and to use their influence to help transform the hearts and minds of their constituents. We pray for the day when Black lives will truly matter to all of us because we know that all lives are precious in His sight.

“Today, we take a stand against racism. Today, we commit to stand up against injustice. Today, we commit to be the voice of those who do not have one. Today, we commit to do what God requires of us: to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8, NRSV). Today, we recommit ourselves to be God’s agents of positive change for a better, more equitable tomorrow.”

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