We, the officers and staff of the Regional Synod of Albany, stand with those who mourn and protest the deaths of Black people in America. Especially on this Pentecost, we lament with the family, friends and communities that loved George Floyd and now grieve his violent death. We decry acts of police brutality that result in innocent lives lost. 

We stand against the sinful systems of racism and white supremacy which have no place in God’s coming Kingdom. We admit that we too play a part in holding these unjust systems in place. We ask God’s forgiveness and we pray for God to overturn the tables of prejudice in our own hearts.

We remember that the Holy Spirit breaks down barriers and invites us to listen to those who speak in other tongues. God calls us to carry Jesus’ message of love, peace, healing and justiceto both those who oppress, and those who struggle to breathe under the weight of oppression.

We invite the rest of the synod to join us in self-reflection, prayer, and advocacy, so that justice might “roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24) We offer this Prayer of Lament in Divided Times for use in personal prayer and in corporate worship.

Abby Norton-Levering, Synod Ministries Coordinator
Bob Hoffman, Synod Administrator
Sandy Cornwell, School of Ministry Coordinator
Lindsey DeKruif, Albany Synod Fellowship Program Coordinator
AC Reilly, Communications Coordinator

Paige Convis, Regional Synod President
Patti Varges, Regional Synod Vice-President
Jason Fulkerson, Regional Synod Past President

Prayer of Lament in Divided Times

God of All Time,
Your scriptures tell me that weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Yet how long is this night, O Lord? How long must people live in deep racial separation, how long must violence pervade our lives, how long must we fear each other? How long, O Lord!

I lift my eyes to the hills which is where my help comes from. Lord, when the names of people who have been choked, shot and assaulted are too many to count, I know that not one soul has been forgotten by mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, cousins and friends.
They remember…
…laughs and smiles,
…dreams and struggles,
…talents and personalities.
How long must we listen to the cries and screams as blood stains the sidewalk? How many videos must we watch before we begin to see a change?
The church seems to have no real explanations for what brings us to this place today. It is with real sorrow in our hearts that we need to ask you to teach us again your ways of love and justice.

Help our nation. Help us examine ourselves. Help those of us who are sad and angry to not let these deaths be in vain. We do not pray for vengeance, but we do thirst for justice. We hope for healing between neighbors and officers called to protect and serve. We long for the day when young people will live long enough to be old and parents will not have to say ‘good-bye’ too soon.
Push us to speak up and to step out of our comfort zones. Change our hearts that we might deeply long for justice to roll down, that we might invest our lives in changing this devastating, hate-filled story, because every time a person encounters violence it is a violation of our faith.

Deliver us, O God.

Deliver us from our fear, come quickly to help us, come quickly to save us. Open our mouths to speak out against prejudice and injustice.Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, the one who came that we all might have life and have life more abundantly. Amen.