Letter to the editor.
This is a letter to the editor from local faith leaders. To submit opinion letters, please review our letters policy here and submit them to Managing Editor Thomas Giery Pudney at tgpudney@ithacavoice.com.

We, the undersigned, representing various churches and campus organizations in Tompkins County, denounce the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

We lament that Mr. Floyd is now part of that tragic community of unarmed black men and women who have been killed.

We lament how the injustice of such killings offends the heart of God and oppresses the black community with fear, anger, and despair.

We affirm that God’s grace, justice, and mercy are expressed throughout creation by many who bear his image. Yet, true and lasting change of heart comes only through the offer of new life through Jesus Christ. We affirm that this gift of renewal is our only real hope.

We affirm that George Floyd (like every human being) was created in the image of God. As an image-bearer of God his life had value and worth. His life mattered.

We affirm with the ancient Old Testament scriptures how we have been called to live: “The LORD has shown you what is good. What does the LORD require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

As communities of faith, called to do justice with mercy and humility, we are ashamed of our past silence. We look to God to lead us forward on a path of meaningful change.

We stand united against racism in all forms.

We stand united against all injustice that takes place far too frequently and disproportionately in our criminal justice system.

We stand united against all actions and ideas that single out any individual or group for oppression.

We repent of our complicity in this evil whether through silence, indifference, or participation.

We denounce the systemic racism that continues to haunt this country

In pursuing the removal of structures in our country that contribute to racism, we are committed to the sacrificial love of our neighbors that will make righteousness, justice, and peace a way of life in our community.

We affirm that our responsibility to speak and act comes from Jesus’ command to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

We acknowledge that this is only a statement. And that words on paper can ring hollow, if not followed by action.

We are thankful for those who are already leading the way forward to a less racist society. We hope to learn from them and follow their lead.

Signees:

Pamela K. Bateman, Principal, Covenant Love Community School
Liz Bierly, Lighthouse Christian Fellowship at Ithaca College
Pastor Bob Brackett, Etna Community Church
Lisa P. Christian, Executive Director, Chuck Tompkins, Community Faith Partners
Pastor Larry Cleek, Elders Ray Crognale, Nelson Mead and Dr. Gary Fick, Covenant Love Community Church
Jordan and Lisa Cooper, Liz Thomforde, Christian Union at Cornell
Pastor Ward Davis, Vineyard Church of Ithaca
Pastor Ed Enstine, Danby Community Church
Pastor Rob Foote, Trinity Lutheran Church
Reverend Dr. Steven Froehlich, Senior Minister, New Life Presbyterian Church
Pastor Scott Hathorn, Calvary Chapel of Ithaca
Rev. Eric D. Hause, Lead Pastor, Bethel Grove Bible Church
David Larson, International Students
Stan Matusz, Pneuma Fellowship at Cornell
Reverend Debbie Reynolds, First Baptist Church
Senior Pastor Csiko Sawyer, Associate Pastor Kibwe C. and Shaina Sawyer, Oasis Christian Fellowship
Pastor Chad Spencer, His Tabernacle- Ithaca Campus