Letter to Congregation – 8/3/2020

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I would like to take a moment to comment on the “Black Lives Matter” movement. No, I am not trying to become political here, that is not my role as your pastor, it is not now and will not be in the future.
But I do think it is important to note that by saying Blacks Lives Matter, it does not mean that other lives do not matter, and neither does it mean that you do not like or support police. I support our police department; I do not support awful actions by anyone.
Please we must start from that prospective. To be sure it is not okay for police to abuse people and it is not okay for protestors to be violent. But I do not believe that police or Black People want harm, rather I believe they want peace and justice. I believe that some individuals want to do harm, but not whole groups of people.
We are all God’s children, equally loved by our God. But the problem happens when segments of society are treated differently than other parts of society. As a gay man I can say I have experienced that different treatment, and it hurts. That is why when St. Andrew’s welcomed me it meant so much and helped to heal the hurt. And in the end, it helped me to know very specifically that it was okay that I am gay.
And see that is an important understanding in this movement. When you have been hurt you need to know that you are okay… not, yes, we are all equally okay, but you need to know you are okay. Hence, Black Lives Matter. It is okay to say it. To be sure that doesn’t mean all other lives don’t matter, it simply means that we in a loving way are saying that Black Lives Matter, That Blacks Lives are precious children of God, because that is what is very important to say right now.
And, this is why I don’t feel this is (or should be) political because it is a Christian reaction to respond (in a loving way) to one of God’s children who are hurting to help them understand they are loved and care for… it is only when all parties involved know they are loved and respected that we can come together and work for peace.
Pastor Neel

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