North Carolina Council of Churches · May 17, 2022
by The Rev. Dr. Conrad Pridgen, Governing Board President-elect, Presiding Elder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2nd Episcopal District and The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Copeland, Executive Director, North Carolina Council of Churches
Words make a world and the world our words are making in this nation these days is pretty ugly. The Tops Supermarket massacre in Buffalo, N.Y., is the latest example of vicious words that were turned into violent action. The North Carolina Council of Churches stands with other Councils across the country denouncing the rhetoric that produces violence. We especially call on our elected officials in all parties, but particularly the two dominant parties, Democrat and Republican, to renounce such speech. We call on them to stop using violent language or innuendos toward violence. Furthermore, we call on them to renounce violent language from anyone in their respective parties, censoring those in their party cohort if the behavior is not voluntarily checked.
Those who speak are not the same as the one who conducted a violent rampage and killed ten innocent people in Buffalo, N.Y. He is described as a lone gunman, but was he really?
Sharing in the responsibility for this crime are those who recklessly and irresponsibly teach and preach racist, false narratives on social media platforms and other various news outlets. They were not physically present at the Tops Supermarket, but the spirit of their rhetoric was present. They did not purchase the guns and ammunition; they did not aim the gun; but their fingerprints are on the murder weapon.
Other hands were also on the gun May 14, 2022, at the Tops Supermarket. Many of us condone the mean-spirited under-currents roiling our nation today. Those currents now surface regularly in violent rampages like the one we saw Saturday and again on Sunday. The hate-filled, mean-spirited talk, only slightly veiled, we hear from some candidates running for public office lends credibility to that which should be openly denounced—violence is not a political tool. These candidates were not physically present for these massacres, but the spirit of their rhetoric was present. Their fingerprints are on the murder weapons.
Finally, other hands that were on the guns used this weekend are perhaps unwitting hands, but they are present all the same. These are the hands of you and me, the hands of those who see our country going down a path characterized by hate, violence, and fear; but remain silent. When we fail to speak out against the direction our country is going and the rhetoric that is taking it there, we bear some responsibility. We were not physically present in the places where violence occurred, but our silence creates complicity. Our fingerprints are on the murder weapons.
Each of us have the right and the responsibility to help determine what kind of country we want to live in. If “hatefulness” is not the way you want to go, then speak up. We have a choice. When each of us vote today in North Carolina and again in November all over the country, we are voting for more than a candidate. We are endorsing their rhetoric and their tactics. We are deciding which words we want to support and what kind of world we want to live in. Words make a world. What kind of world do you want to live in?
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA COUNCIL OF CHURCHES The Council enables denominations, congregations, and people of faith to individually and collectively impact our state on issues such as economic justice and development, human well-being, equality, compassion and peace, following the example and mission of Jesus Christ. Learn more about our work here: www.ncchurches.org/about
The COVID infection rate for Durham County is on the rise again. FPC is returning to “MASKS REQUIRED when inside” beginning Sunday, May 8. Single use masks for adults and children will be available at the church if you need a mask.
We encourage those who are eligible to receive the vaccine and boosters to protect yourself and others from the newest and more contagious variant of the COVID virus, by getting vaccinated.
|Let’s get on the bus!
The Poor Peoples Campaign March on Washington (PPC) is on June 18, 2022, and we want to get as many people from FPC to come with us.
The Racial Equity Taskforce has made arrangements with Rally.co for a bus to depart from FPC’s parking lot and travel up and back on June 18th. It will be a full day and an opportunity to meet and march with Bishop Barber and thousands of others from across the US who come to Washington DC to highlight the poverty, racism, inequity, and injustice people face every day in the US and the systems that enforce and perpetuate it, and we want to demand a change. We have a core group who have committed to going, and we hope that you will join us in person and in prayer.
To reserve your seat, you’ll need to go online to book it and pay $95 for the roundtrip fare. When we fill this bus, we understand that the Rally.co will add another bus to depart from FPC. We hope to fill several. We don’t want the cost to be a barrier for anyone who wants to attend.
If you need financial assistance, please contact our pastor Mindy Douglas. Given our pre-dawn departure, we’ll need to prepare a breakfast bag for each rider and ask for people to volunteer to do that and donate food/drinks for snacks and sandwiches. If you would like to be a part of that activity, please contact Jane Williams, Jon Abels, or Kathy Krahenbuhl. More details will follow.
We also welcome contributions to sponsor other riders, including those from other congregations in Durham who wish to join us. To make a financial contribution you can go online at FPC to see various ways to donate to the “PPC Bus Support” or send a text at (919) 373-3254 and write the dollar amount you wish to give (e.g. $95 PPCBus) and send it. You can also leave a check in the mailbox at church for business manager Tom Bloom with “PPC Bus Support” written in the memo line. Thank you for your support and participation.
Snapshot No. 2 Our Church in Crisis Times: The Civil War
Snapshot No. 3 Our Church in Crisis Times: World War 1
Snapshot No. 4 Our Church in Crisis Times: Great Depression, 1929-1939
Snapshot No. 5 Our Church in Crisis Times: Distant Drums of War, 1937-1941
Special thanks to FPC historian Peter Fish for writing these moments in FPC’s history and to Carol Carson who submitted the photos and images.