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In the midst of current racial unrest, conflicting statements on media, and a general sense of tension across the nation including western Washington, the District Advisory Board of the Washington Pacific District felt the importance of issuing a statement reiterating the stance of the Church of the Nazarene and the steps we as a district plan to take.  

Rather than creating a new statement specific to WaPac District, we want to focus attention on the strong stance we as a denomination have already taken.  Because we are an international church with hundreds of cultural and ethnic expressions, the Church of the Nazarene has already reflected deeply and written extensively about discrimination.   As a district, we will continue to highlight our denominational statement on racial justice and discrimination from the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene - paragraph 915 (see below/attached). 

In response to the call to action found in paragraph 915, we have appointed a working group to recommend action steps for our district.  

The initial steps the district will take:  

  1. Prayfully, thoughtfully, and scripturally reflect on this issue
  2. Distribute and focus on our Manual statement
  3. Host online interactive groups for the purpose of understanding, discussion, and learning
  4. Develop a resource page on our website and app dedicated to racial reconciliation and justice
  5. Design Pastor’s Day January 21, 2021 to focus on race and justice
  6. Encourage pastors across the district to preach a message on the topic of race, restoration, and justice on Sunday January 24, 2021  (This collective January focus should not discourage a local focus on this important topic now)

We encourage pastors and church leadership to: 

  1. Start now to lead your congregation in prayer and biblical reflection
  2. Share Manual paragraph 915 with the congregation - teaching and preaching on this theme 
  3. Participate in at least one online interactive group
  4. Gain knowledge; listen and learn.  Visit the WaPac website for ideas and resources.
  5. Participate in Pastor’s Day January 21, 2021
  6. Prepare and preach a message on race, restoration and justice on January 24

By focusing on this important issue, we intend for our churches to be places where people from all races and ethnicities can find a place to belong and be given the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential.  It is our prayer that the Holy Spirit will fill our hearts, open our eyes, and expand our influence as we seek to be ambassadors of reconciliation. 

WaPac District Advisory Board

 

 

Discrimination. The Church of the Nazarene reiterates its historic position of Christian compassion for people of all races. We believe that God is the Creator of all people, and that of one blood are all people created.

We believe that each individual, regardless of race, color, gender, or creed, should have equality before law, including the right to vote, equal access to educational opportunities, to all public facilities, and to the equal opportunity, according to one’s ability, to earn a living free from any job or economic discrimination.

We urge our churches everywhere to continue and strengthen programs of education to promote racial understanding and harmony. We also feel that the scriptural admonition of Hebrews 12:14 should guide the actions of our people. We urge that each member of the Church of the Nazarene humbly examine his or her personal attitudes and actions toward others, as a first step in achieving the Christian goal of full participation by all in the life of the church and the entire community.

We reemphasize our belief that holiness of heart and life is the basis for right living. We believe that Christian charity between racial groups or gender will come when the hearts of people have been changed by complete submission to Jesus Christ, and that the essence of true Christianity consists in loving God with one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength, and one’s neighbor as oneself.

Therefore, we renounce any form of racial and ethnic indifference, exclusion, subjugation, or oppression as a grave sin against God and our fellow human beings. We lament the legacy of every form of racism throughout the world, and we seek to confront that legacy through repentance, reconciliation, and biblical justice. We seek to repent of every behavior in which we have been overtly or covertly complicit with the sin of racism, both past and present; and in confession and lament we seek forgiveness and reconciliation.

Further, we acknowledge that there is no reconciliation apart from human struggle to stand against and to overcome all personal, institutional and structural prejudice responsible for racial and ethnic humiliation and oppression. We call upon Nazarenes everywhere to identify and seek to remove acts and structures of prejudice, to facilitate occasions for seeking forgiveness and reconciliation, and to take action toward empowering those who have been marginalized. (2017)

MANUAL CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE 2017 – 2021; PARAGRAPH 915

Ethnic Reconciliation, Equality and Justice

A Guide to Prayer and Scriptural Reflection

Here is a prayer guide for praying into the heart of God for "every nation, tribe, people and language" (Revelation 7:9). The format for this guide is from two primary resources. First, from Pete Greig's book How to Pray--a simple guide for normal people. Secondly, from a prayer app called LECTIO365.

View PDF

Books & Other Resources

*Disclaimer: These resources are a partial list of books, videos, audio broadcasts and courses that provide insight into the work of racial reconciliation. The list includes both Christian and secular voices. The opinions and perspectives of the featured speakers and authors are their own. While we believe these resources are useful to gain a broad understanding of the topic, their inclusion does not constitute an unconditional endorsement of all content by the Washington Pacific District Church of the Nazarene.
 

I’m Still Here by Austen Channing Brown

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • REESE’S BOOK CLUB X HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK PICK • From a leading voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female that exposes how white America’s love affair with “diversity” so often falls short of its ideals.

Purchase on Amazon  Study guide (free) and videos ($39)

The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby

An acclaimed, timely narrative of how people of faith have historically--up to the present day--worked against racial justice. And a call for urgent action by all Christians today in response.

Purchase on Amazon  Video Study (Free on Amazon Prime)

Roadmap to Reconciliation by Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil

Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is a Pastor at Quest Church in Seattle and a professor at SPU. At the end of each chapter there is a “get practical” section where she challenges readers to make a next step or has questions for reflections.

Purchase on Amazon

Divided by Faith By Michael Emerson & Christian Smith

Through a nationwide telephone survey of 2,000 people and an additional 200 face-to-face interviews, Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith probed the grassroots of white evangelical America. They found that despite recent efforts by the movement's leaders to address the problem of racial discrimination, evangelicals themselves seem to be preserving America's racial chasm.

Purchase on Amazon

The Measure of a Man by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

2013 Reprint of 1959 Edition. Exact facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software. In August 1958 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., preached two sermons, "What is Man?" and "The Dimensions of a Complete Life," at the first National Conference on Christian Education of the United Church of Christ at Purdue University. In response to demands made by conference attendees, King allowed publication of the addresses.

Purchase on Amazon

Dream With Me by John Perkins

According to recent surveys and studies, race relations in the United States are the worst they've been since the 1990s, and many would argue that life for most minorities has not significantly improved since the civil rights era of the 1960s. For so many, the dream of true equality has dissolved into a reality of prejudice, fear, and violence as a way of life.

Purchase on Amazon

The Monkey and the Fish by Dave Gibbons

Our world is marked by unprecedented degrees of multiculturalism, ethnic diversity, social shifts, international collaboration, and technology-driven changes. The changes are profound, especially when you consider the unchecked decline in the influence, size, and social standing of the church. There is an undercurrent of anxiety in the evangelical world, and a hunger for something new.

Purchase on Amazon

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

A heartbreaking and powerful story about a black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history, from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes. Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better. Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that's been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.

Purchase on Amazon

Blink by Malcom Gladwell

n his landmark bestseller The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell redefined how we understand the world around us. Now, in Blink, he revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant-in the blink of an eye-that actually aren't as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error?

Purchase on Amazon

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Purchase on Amazon

The Cross and The Lynching Tree by James Cone

The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful new work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk. Both the cross and the lynching tree represent the worst in human beings and at the same time a thirst for life that refuses to let the worst determine our final meaning.

Purchase on Amazon

Above The Noise: Fatih, Race and Reconciliation by Grantley Martelly

A podcast at the intersection of faith, race, and reconciliation. People of faith should be leaders of reconciliation however historically issues of race and culture seem to get in the way of rising above differences to find common ground through reconciliation. We discuss those challenges and sometimes we may also stray onto different topics but we'll always come back to reconciliation.

Start Listening

Video & Online Resources

Grace, Justice & Mercy: An Evening with Bryan Stevenson & Tim Keller

70m 52s

In an age of mass incarceration and growing racial tension, how can a church committed to the flourishing of a whole city engage as ambassadors of reconciliation and restoration? Bryan Stevenson & Tim Keller will help us explore ways to sustain hope through a grace filled pursuit of justice and mercy as they draw from their own calling and work.


TED2012: Bryan Stevenson – We need to talk about injustice

23m 26s

In an engaging and personal talk -- with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks -- human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America's justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country's black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America's unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness.


How The Church Can Be The Bridge In Race Relations with Tasha Morrison by Think Orange Podcast

56m 5s

Addressing racism and injustice is messy and difficult to talk about, and it’s natural to either avoid the conversation altogether or scratch the surface by using hashtags on social media and think you’ve done your part as a church. But often, our silence as a church is perceived compliance. In today’s episode of the Think Orange podcast, we’re joined with Tasha Morrison, founder of Be The Bridge, an organization at the forefront of racial reconciliation. Together, we discuss what our role is in relieving the tension in a racially-divided country.

Holy Post - Race in America

17m 52s

We need to talk about race. Why are people angry? Why so upset? Didn't we elect a black president? Pass civil rights laws? Isn't racism illegal now? Three years ago my brother Rob and I co-taught a class that discussed issues of racial injustice. That class turned into a popular podcast episode, which we've now turned into this video. Why are people still angry? Let's take a look at race in America...