Statement of Unity
FROM WINSTON-SALEM PASTORS AND MINISTRY LEADERS
A STATEMENT OF UNITY
September 1, 2017
As pastors and ministry leaders in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, we desire to express with a unified voice our sorrow over the recent tragic events in Charlottesville. These events underscore the broken state of our community, our country, and our world. Winston-Salem has long been one of the locations in the dark history of racism and violence in America. As Christian leaders in this city, we declare, with a unified voice, that the gospel of Jesus Christ speaks clearly and relevantly in this particular moment. In this light, the undersigned pastors and ministry leaders of Winston-Salem unite to announce what follows.
WE AFFIRM that every human being is created in the image of God, and therefore carries the inherent value and dignity of God’s design. We affirm that the variety of human cultures on earth is a beautiful expression of God's love for diversity. We affirm that Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected not only to offer humankind the gift of eternal life, but also to shatter every division—social, political, economic, or racial—which would separate us. We affirm that God’s consummated Kingdom will be a place of rich diversity and cultural expression. We affirm that the Church is called to be a community that reflects that present and future Kingdom.
WE REJECT the ideology of white supremacy, including antisemitism, as an unqualified evil, a denunciation of the gospel, and a heresy which wars against God’s design for human culture and creation. We reject the notion that white people, or any collection of humans of any culture, are superior to any other. We reject any ideology that seeks to erect or maintain divisions that God has torn down through Jesus Christ. We reject the efforts to place the good of one race or one nation above the good of all, for God desires all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
WE ACKNOWLEDGE that much of the Church has been complicit in the sins of racism, historically and presently, either through the defense of slavery, segregation, discrimination, harboring prejudice internally, or through passive silence and inactivity. We acknowledge our painful past, irrespective of our historical positions as oppressed or oppressors, and together we lament the brokenness in the body of Christ.
WE REPENT, in solidarity, on behalf of the Church for the ways it has played a role in enabling the segregation and racial injustice that we see in our city and nation. We also repent of our own racism, fear, silence, inactivity and hatred, both conscious and unconscious. And we ask forgiveness, O Lord, from You, and forgiveness from our brothers and sisters who deserve and long to be supported, treated as equal heirs of salvation and loved unconditionally as we seek to build bridges of relationship in the face of walls of adversity. We intentionally choose to be agents of love, healing and reconciliation in our churches, in our city and in our nation.
WE RESOLVE to preach, teach, and advocate against the sins of racism. We resolve to lead in the way of love, and to seek ways to heal the divisions that separate races and cultures in our city. We resolve to listen to those who have been wounded and dehumanized by racism. We resolve to pray fervently for God’s healing and reconciliation. We resolve to help our churches become more hospitable and welcoming communities to diverse people.
Finally, we resolve to pursue Jesus Christ’s perfect standard of equality, justice, and love in our churches, city, and country.
- Pastor Steven L. Angle, Southside Community Church
- Rev. Sara. Ardrey-Graves, St. Paul's Episcopal Church
- Mr. Austin Bailey, Winston-Salem Christian School
- Rev. Dr. Peter Barnes, First Presbyterian Church of Winston-Salem
- Pastor David Beaty, River Oaks Community Church
- Rt. Rev. Wayne Burkette, Moravian Church
- Rev. Randell A. Cain, Zion Memorial Missionary Baptist Church
- Rev. Amy Carlan, First Presbyterian Church of Winston-Salem
- Rev. Clark Chilton, Clemmons United Methodist Church
- Pastor Bret R. Cogan, Wesley Memorial UMC
- Rev. Jeff Coppage, Fries Memorial Moravian Church
- Rev. Bev Coppley, Sr. Pastor, Ardmore UMC
- Rev. Jeff Coppley, Sr. Pastor, Maple Springs UMC
- Rev. Darby Oliver Everhard, St. Paul's Episcopal Church
- Rev. Craig Ford, Centenary UMC
- Dr. Don Y. Gordon, Ardmore Baptist Church
- Mr. Joshua Hatfield, One21 Church
- Rev. Giorgio W.K. Hiatt, Redeemer Presbyterian Church
- Mr. Chuck Hobbs, First Presbyterian Church of Winston-Salem
- Rev. Mike Horne, First Presbyterian Church of Winston-Salem
- Rev. Dianne Horton, New Bethel Baptist Church
- Rev. Joe Hout, Ardmore UMC
- Rev. Lory Beth Huffman, Centenary UMC
- Pastor Barrett Johnson, Reynolda Church
- Mr. Chris Jones, CITYChurch Winston
- Rev. D. Dixon Kinser, St. Paul's Episcopal Church
- Rev. Margaret K. Leinback, Moravian Pastor, retired
- Rev. Joel Littlepage, Redeemer Presbyterian Church
- Rev. Dane Martin, Ardmore Baptist Church
- Pastor William H. McElveen, Moravian Minister
- Pastor Emily Hull McGee, First Baptist Church on Fifth
- Pastor Ben Milner, Salem Presbyterian Church
- Rev. James C. Newsome Jr., Friedberg Moravian Church
- Rev. Jimmie L. Newsom, Jr., Retired Pastor of King Moravian Church
- Rev. Paula Northrup, Clemmons United Methodist Church
- Johnny Pereira, Harvest Bible Chapel Winston-Salem, NC
- Mr. Will Plitt, Executive Director, Christ Together
- Rev. Jeremy M. Poplin, Clemmons First Baptist Church
- Rev. Derek E. Radney, Trinity Church (PCA)
- Fr Steve Rice, Rector, St Timothy's Episcopal Church
- Rev. Graham H. Rights, Home Moravian Church
- Pastor John D. Rights, Konnoak Hills Moravian Church
- Rev. Lee Ritchie, Ardmore Baptist Church
- Pastor Gloria Samuels, Great Commission Community Church, Inc.
- Rt. Rev. Lane A. Sapp, Calvary Moravian Church
- Dr. Robert E. Sawyer, Moravian Pastor, retired
- Dr. Bob Setzer, Jr., Knollwood Baptist Church
- Rev. John E. Shields, St. Paul's Episcopal Church
- Rev. Laura M. Spangler, Lloyd Presbyterian Church
- Rev. David Speakman, Hope Presbyterian Church
- Rev. Chuck Spong, Love Out Loud
- Chaplain Rodney Stilwell, Forsyth Jail and Prison Ministries
- Pastor Paul Stutzman, Fraternity Church of the Brethren
- Rev Bob Summers, Central Terrace UMC
- Rev. Heather Thomsen Tang, First Presbyterian Church of Winston-Salem
- Rev. Dr. C. Riddick Weber, Moravian Church, Southern Province, Winston-Salem
- Sr. Pastor Alan D. Wright, Reynolda Church
If you are a minister and would like to add your signature to this statement or if you would like to be included in communications about future conversations and events, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This statement is adapted from the Statement of Unity that was originally drafted by pastors and ministry leaders in Richmond, VA, and it is used with permission. We are grateful for their courageous efforts and generous spirits.