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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:
- Prayfully, thoughtfully, and scripturally reflect on this issue
- Distribute and focus on our Manual statement
- Host online interactive groups for the purpose of understanding, discussion, and learning
- Develop a resource page on our website and app dedicated to racial reconciliation and justice
- Design Pastor’s Day January 21, 2021 to focus on race and justice
- 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:
- Start now to lead your congregation in prayer and biblical reflection
- Share Manual paragraph 915 with the congregation - teaching and preaching on this theme
- Participate in at least one online interactive group
- Gain knowledge; listen and learn. Visit the WaPac website for ideas and resources.
- Participate in Pastor’s Day January 21, 2021
- 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