A Letter From Dr. Thomas H. Priest, Jr.
President, National Black Presbyterian Caucus

October 29, 2018

Peace Sisters and Brothers,

We grieve the murders of our Jewish sisters and brothers from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and our black sister and brother murdered in Louisville, Kentucky.  Let us not forget that the evil who murdered the two black Americans first tried to break into an African American church.  Thank you, Lord, that another tragedy was avoided.  These were crimes of violence perpetrated by those who had motive, power and access.

We are faced with the reality that many of our sisters and brothers were murdered by people who harbored hate.  They were able to manifest their hatred of the other because they were empowered to do so.  The forces of white supremacy and white nationalism pervades our community.  Our community includes our churches, neighborhoods, cities, counties, states, countries and planet.

I ask you to pray privately and publicly for healing, asking God to comfort those who mourn the death of loved ones.  While I am deeply saddened by these acts of violence and hatred, I remain hopeful.  I remain hopeful because I know and believe God remains in power.  I believe and know that the power of love is stronger than hate. I know that we are unified by our love for one another.

I want you to know that we are called to witness to God’s power of love, justice, equity and peace at all times.  Armed with this power you can combat the destructive forces of white supremacy, racism, bigotry and religious phobia.

I ask each of you be a witness for our Lord in your session meetings, committee meetings, meetings of your Presbytery and Synod.  Call the Presbyterian Church to be a visible and united voice in condemning these recent acts of hatred, white supremacy and white nationalism.  We are God’s beloved community.

I conclude with the words of Yolanda Pierce, Ph.D., Dean of School of Divinity, Howard University, “Our thoughts and prayers must become a wrecking ball to injustice everywhere. Our thoughts and prayers must become the hands and feet of righteousness.  May we all recommit to loving our neighbors, in both words and deed.  God’s love is indeed stronger and more powerful than any force which attempts to tear our communities and our nation asunder.”

Blessings with justice and equity at all times,

Thomas H. Priest, Jr.
National Black Presbyterian Caucus