The Unity Board Responds to President Trump’s Derogatory Comments

The Unity Board of the Worldwide Moravian Church

Lindegade 26, DK-6070
Christiansfeld, Denmark.
Tel. +45 40361420.

Rev. Dr. Cortroy Jarvis
President of the Unity Board

Rev. Dr. Jørgen Bøytler (PHD)
Unity Board Administrator

Statement on Derogatory Statements Made by President Trump

Christiansfeld, January 15th, 2018

We greet you in the name of Jesus the Christ, our Chief Elder.

The Moravian Church has followed with dismay, the derogatory statements made by President Trump about the 54 African countries, El Salvador, and Haiti. We condemn in the strongest terms those statements and lift up the people in these areas as honorable, decent and respectable persons who were created in the image and likeness of God like we have all been.

We are not certain what motivated President Trump to have uttered those statements, but he belittled people of color everywhere. As a church, we stand in solidarity with our churches on the African Continent, Central America, Haiti, and the people in general. The Moravian Church worldwide abhors the way our brothers and sisters have been relegated to nothingness.

The Moravian Church consisted from the beginning of people of many ethnical backgrounds, and is known for respecting and embracing ethnic and cultural diversity. In the very core of Moravian understanding of humanity, the God-given equality of all people is fundamental. We can therefore not remain quiet, when derogatory utterances on any ethnic group or any country are made, no matter who makes such statements.

The Unity Board of the Worldwide Moravian Church - January 15 2018 statement (graphic)

As the second country in the Western Hemisphere after the United States to have gained independence in 1804, we believe that Haiti has a lot to teach us all. They have been a resilient and strong people who continue to defy the odds. They have been a people who have always been fighting to maintain their sanity and equilibrium. In like manner, the people of Africa and Central America have been a strong and resilient people. We bless you Haiti. We bless you Africa. We bless you Central America. You will rise, for the God, who has begun a good thing in you, will see it to completion.

Today, 50 years after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, we are reminded of the dream of Dr. King that all men be brothers. This dream can only come true, when all human beings are respected as what we are, humans, created in the image of God. May God make the dream come true.

Rev. Dr. Cortroy Jarvis President of the Unity Board

Rev. Dr. Jørgen Bøytler (PHD) Unity Board Administrator

Lindegade 26, DK-6070 Christiansfeld, Denmark. Tel. +45 40361420. boytler@ebu.de

Access this statement in PDF form:
Statement on Derogatory Statements Made by President Trump
The Unity Board of the Worldwide Moravian Church

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Statement on Charlottesville by the PECs of the Moravian Church in America

Moravian seal

Moravian Church in America

Northern Province
1021 Center Street, PO Box 1245
Bethlehem, PA 18016-1245
610.865.3137
The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth D. Miller, president

Southern Province
459 S. Church Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
336.725.5811
The Rev. David B. Guthrie, president

August 15, 2017

A Joint Letter from the Provincial Elders’ Conferences Southern and Northern Provinces

Dear brothers and sisters,

We write with a deep sense of sadness and concern over the violent and tragic events that happened in Charlottesville, VA last Saturday, August 12. We join in the prayers of people across the United States and our provinces over the deaths of Heather Heyer, and Virginia State Troopers H. Jay Cullen, and Berke M. M. Bates. We also join in gratitude that, in response to a request from the National Council of Churches, at least one Moravian clergy, Sr. Sue Koenig, was present to offer a peaceful, inclusive witness.

We condemn in the strongest terms the racism, hatred, and intimidation that were on public display by members of such groups as the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party, and other white supremacist groups, which erupted in violence, and which resulted in the loss of three lives, the injury of at least 19 others, and untold anxiety and fear among the citizenry of Charlottesville, and the nation.

Twenty years ago, both of our Provincial Synods affirmed the following: “The Church must declare that racism is a sin.” Racism contradicts the known will of God expressed in teachings of Jesus that we are to love God and love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Mark 12:29-31). We acknowledge our complicity in perpetuating this sin, both now and in our history.

Let us remind ourselves of how we are called to live as a church through such statements as these:

“…We are called to testify that God in Jesus Christ brings His people out of every ethnic origin and language into one body, pardons sinners beneath the Cross and brings them together. We oppose any discrimination in our midst because of ethnic origin, sex or social standing, and we regard it as a commandment of the Lord to bear public witness to this and to demonstrate by word and deed that we are brothers and sisters in Christ.” (Ground of the Unity, para. 7)

“We will not hate, despise, slander or otherwise injure anyone. We will ever strive to manifest love towards all people, to treat them in a kind and friendly manner, and in our dealings with them to approve ourselves upright, honest, and conscientious, as becomes children of God.” (Moravian Covenant for Christian Living, para. 29)

“Because we hold that all people are God’s creatures (Gen. 1:27) and that he has made of one blood all nations (Acts 17:26) we oppose any discrimination based on color, race, creed or land of origin and declare that we should treat everyone with love and respect.” (Moravian Covenant of Christian Living, para. 33)

Enclosed [see link below] is A Statement on Racism and the Church, which was approved at our 1998 Synods. As we, the Provincial Elders’ Conferences, read these words from two decades ago we are especially struck by the following found in our statement:

  • “The Moravian Church, despite sound biblical teaching and clear statements of belief, has, from time to time, demonstrated the values of the surrounding world and thus has denied the very affirmation it professes. It has been affected by the very racism that is contrary to our beliefs.
  • The absence of widespread dialogue on the issue and the resulting congregational inaction to overcome the effects of racism in our society
  • The church of Jesus is called to be salt and light:
    •  To set an example and show the way for a society which cries out for racial healing;
    • To match our fine statements with worthy deeds;
    • To confess the sinfulness of our failure to practice what we preach about discrimination;
    • To examine our personal and corporate life and repent; and,
    • Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to turn from our racism and take a new direction in keeping with the teachings of God in Christ Jesus.”

We encourage you to provide opportunities for prayer and conversation among the members of your congregation or fellowship. You may also want to lift up in prayer during worship services what has happened and the vital issues, questions and concerns it raises. We commend our Intercessions in a Time of Crisis (MBW, page 117) as a resource that contains several helpful petitions.

In the coming weeks we will be praying about and reflecting on the specific steps we may take in our Provinces, as congregations, and individuals to truly live into the values we hold and profess, so that we may faithfully “bear public witness” to a world sorely in need of the reconciling love of God revealed in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sincerly,

Elizabeth D. Miller

David Guthrie
Enc.


Access this statement in PDF form:
Statement on Charlottesville by the PECs of the Moravian Church in America

Read the 1998 statement on racism here:
A Statement on Racism and the Church

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