PC(USA) Stated Clerk affirms, shares NBPC statement on Baltimore

April 30, 2015


In the midst of the anguish taking place in Baltimore presently, the National Black Presbyterian Caucus has issued a powerful and clear statement. I affirm their message, which is printed below, and share it with the larger church and the world for thought and action.

The Reverend Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Watching the news coverage of the situation in Baltimore, memories of the days following Martin Luther King Jr’s death and the riots that followed in Washington, D.C., resurfaced. Those are memories that one would rather leave in that time span, but how can one leave it behind when it feels like “here we go, again?” The pain of watching this happen once again is overwhelming! Why would anyone choose to steal, burn, and destroy in the midst of a painful situation? While raising this puzzling question, the feeling to want to lash out; to get the pent up frustration out of our systems is understandable. Yet, it is puzzling to try and understand the desire to destroy at the expense of ruining one’s own communities. That factor in the Washington riots has never been understood.

So “here we go again,” facing a similar situation in one of our major cities where people still suffer from poverty, lack of decent living wages, unsafe streets, quality education, violence, and so much more that seems to place them in situations that require more than average enthusiasm to survive.

What is the answer? The answers don’t come easy. However, we are all challenged to get involved and stop standing on the sidelines with our arms folded. We know what the issues are! They are not only present in Baltimore, Maryland; we have cities all over our country with the same issues and the same potential to be the next Baltimore. Churches and individuals must step forward and begin to address the underlying causes of such actions as we have seen in Baltimore.

We are aware of the racism and injustice that still exists in this country and the denial by those who say there is no longer any racism. The need to address the issues related to the residuals of our slave conditions has never fully been addressed and it has caused much of the anger that has been passed down from generation to generation. God has to be tired of us! The violence, racism, and injustice have to stop! And, it is time to stop talking about it and face it head on! Until we address the underlying issues and are willing to discuss them and take action, the violence that erupted in Baltimore will erupt in other places.

Too many black boys have died prematurely and needlessly. Too many of our black boys are in prison! Too many black boys and girls have suffered due to parent’s inability to provide a quality life for them because they can’t even earn a decent wage. Too many have given up on the values we were raised to honor. Too many of us have abandoned the church and our faith that has been our solid foundation. Too many of us have given up and are leaving the responsibility to someone else.

We must pray with sincere hearts, but we must also learn to unite our efforts and stop the bickering, jealously, and crablike actions that cause division among us. In order to make a difference in the lives of the generations to follow, we must come up with a solid strategy and stick with it until we accomplish the mission. Despite our fears and even opposition, we must continue this journey and learn to live together in harmony and peace because I believe our failure to do so has brought us to the place we find ourselves in today.

Yes, there is much work to be done and it is time for us to get serious about it.

Arlene W. Gordon
President, National Black Presbyterian Caucus

미국 장로교 총회 정서기가 벌티모어에 대한 내셔널 흑인 장로교회 연합 (NBPC)의 성명서를 긍정하고 공유하다

  1. I too am convinced that a good education is a MUST to raise up our poor children of every race, religion and circumstance. Our challenge: Excellent teachers, facilities, administrators, and materials of instruction are the norm for suburban communities, yet poor schools can't even count on air conditioning and a certified teacher! All City schools MUST be Title I. That way we can entice the excellent people and have funds to provide multi sensory instruction with the best materials for every lesson every day! And, maybe, the rats and mice in our schools can be captured and released in open fields somewhere??????

    by Retta Barkley

    September 12, 2015

  2. Very good, Arlene. I agree that we have got to take up the proverbial 'baton' and get busy! Ev and I are doing our part and are encouraging others to to do as well.

    by Edward D. Gehres, Jr.

    May 7, 2015

  3. Found the "position" of Gradye Parsons above to be all over the place, so, since we seem to be speaking primarily of agreement in these responses, I'll add my assent to"violence, racism and injustice" needing replacement with something better, but must warn that the Church, at least, should have the conviction to articulate better (albeit more complex) solutions to poverty than merely throwing more money at it, and the wisdom to recognize that racism's roots in the last half century are not encapsulated by today's silly sloganeering but rather reside, differently but with equal destructiveness, in persons of every color in this country.

    by C. Spencer van Gulick

    May 5, 2015

  4. Arlene, Thank you for your comments, You have spoken the truth as it relates to Black Presbyterians. I am reminded of the words that the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the people as they lived in captivity. "We wept when we remembered Zion" I went to Ferguson, and Baltimore I saw the destruction and felt the pain. I thought about those who fought and struggled for our freedom and it made me weep . I feel that we dropped the baton . I pray that we will pick it up and use our collective voices , resources., and skills to remind the church that our God sent Jesus into this world to set the captives free. Poor people, black and Brown people are being held captive by poverty, poor education and the list goes on and on.May all of us be inspired by the God of justice to move into action that would help to set the captives free.

    by Rev. Bernice Warren

    May 5, 2015

  5. Franzetta, thank you for the call to teach. And I hasten to remind us that teaching is not the sole responsibility of the public or private school. The Church has to do it's rightful duty as well.

    by Addie N. Peterson

    May 2, 2015

  6. Yes to Franzetta's comment. As another retired educator of 40 years, I pray that all parents and their children realize that education opens doors. Stay in school--there is hope out there for all. I heard an interview today with a principal in Baltimore who brought in a local minister to talk with the students about hope--and education. Already there were 14 year olds who expressed feelings of anger--which translates to fear. They were encouraged to use the anger to make a positive difference. I pray for all the families who strive to bring their children up as responsible, God fearing citizens who cling to hope for this nation. There is much good out there. Praise God!

    by vicki maline

    May 1, 2015

  7. We must each live our daily lives with love and respect for all people. Because I am a retired teacher, I believe education plays a major role in improving the quality of life for the marginalized of our society. We must continue to pray and teach.

    by Franzetta Sanders Grandison

    April 30, 2015

  8. I didn't even know there was a Black Presbyterian Caucus ... I agree with your position. How can I help?!

    by Stephanie Pervall

    April 30, 2015

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