World Council of Churches
1-3 June 2020
Doc. No. 09
Happy are those who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times. (Psalm 106:3 NRSV)
The executive committee of the World Council of Churches meeting on 1-3 June 2020 (by electronic means) has coincided with a moment of profound crisis in the United States of America. The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer touched off widespread demonstrations in the US — and internationally — protesting this killing, the many many other deaths of women and men of colour at the hands of police, and the excessive and racially discriminatory use of force by US law enforcement authorities, expressive of systemic racism. Some of these demonstrations have turned violent, resulting in more deaths and injuries, as well as thousands of arrests.
The executive committee affirms the 29 May 2020 statement issued by the Leadership of the Central Committee in immediate response to the murder of George Floyd, emphasizing that: “This must stop. There must be a conversion (metanoia), reflection, repentance and rejection of all forms of racism and racial discrimination, and a true and genuine acknowledgement of the equal God-given dignity and worth of every human being, regardless of colour or ethnicity.”
The deepening of the crisis during these days compels the executive committee to observe that, despite important work undertaken by the WCC to combat racism, including with US member churches and the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA to draw attention to the four hundred year history of racism in the United States, much more needs to be done. With the African Methodist Episcopal Church, we affirm “Broken nations, broken health care and educational systems, political and economic systems ruled by racism, economic inequality, and the widespread practice of white privilege put people of color all over the world ‘at risk’. White supremacist business as usual, is no longer acceptable.”
The executive committee expresses its support and Christian solidarity with all US churches seeking and pursuing racial justice, proclaiming peace that is inclusive of all, and rejecting the instrumentalization of the outward forms of Christianity without its substance of compassion, service and self-giving love.
The executive committee commends to WCC member churches the many statements of pain, outrage and solidarity published by religious leaders, religious institutions and member churches in the United States.
The executive committee commits itself to continue monitoring developments in this context and to identify means of taking appropriate action, in close cooperation with the member churches and the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, in light of the gravity of this crisis and the urgent need to address its underlying root causes.
Because black lives matter, and because as Rev. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. said “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
All who do not do what is right are not from God, nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters. (I John 3:10b, NRSV)