Monday, August 17, 2020
Presbyterian Week of Action: Black Lives Matter
 
Communities of faith and people across the nation are joining the movement to confront the sins of racism and white supremacy, as we here at First Pres have been doing. The Presbyterian Church (USA) as a denomination has joined in doing that work through General Assembly actions earlier this summer and through the ongoing work of our national ministry agencies, following directives from the General Assembly.
One such initiative is the Presbyterian Week of Action, Aug. 2430, an endeavor to provide a public witness that facilitates education, visibility and action that reinforces our PC(USA) statements and policy that support eradicating systemic racism. 
 
In “Responding to the Sin of Racism and a Call to Action,” the 224th General Assembly (2020) declared:
“Our country’s most important institutions have been built to sustain white privilege, to protect white lives and white property at the expense of our siblings of color. The church through ignorance, denial, and in some cases deliberate action, has participated in this injustice. We have been slow to face the reality of systemic racism. We have been slow to acknowledge the pain of our fellow Presbyterians, of our fellow Christians, of our fellow citizens, and of those who have come to America for a better life, whose value has been judged by the color of their skin.”

The Assembly called the Church to “actively confront and dismantle systemic racism in our church and in society at large, and to work for a more just, merciful, and peaceful country that allows all of God’s children to flourish.”

The week of action will include, among other events, these of particular interest:

Tuesday, August 25: PC(USA) Town Hall Gathering

This is an opportunity to engage with theologians, community activists, pastors and practitioners on the intersectional work of anti-racism, how the PC(USA) in all its expressions grapples with the legacy of white supremacy and racism in our history and theology, finds ways to do prophetic and renewing work in current moments for racial justice, and how we can listen to and come alongside community and national leaders to show up together for racial justice. 

This event will begin at 1:30 p.m. via Zoom. Registration information will be shared in this week's newsletter.
 
Wednesday, August 26: FPCB Follow-up Conversation

First Pres will offer an opportunity to converse about the information shared in the Tuesday Town Hall. Via Zoom, we'll gather to discuss the themes and how they resonate for us as individuals and as a congregation.

This event will begin at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Registration information will be shared in this week's newsletter.
In addition to the events and activities offered by PC(USA), we hope you are utilizing the resources previously shared in the "21-Day Racial Justice Immersion Project". Many of our members who have undertaken this self-study have found it to be valuable, and it has led them to further investigations and reflection.
 
The leadership of the Lehigh Presbytery closes with:
While we recognize and honor the good work toward justice that has been ongoing in our denomination and our congregations, we also realize that in this time it is not enough.

Though the Presbyterian Week of Action hopes to meet the immediacy of our current context, it will not be the culmination of our work as a denomination, for we have a long way to go to eradicate systemic racism and white supremacy. Nonetheless, this week will empower us, challenge us and enliven the faith we follow.