Diocesan Metropolitan Joins NCC in Statement on Ferguson, Missouri
Our Metropolitan, His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, a member of the
governing board of the National Council of Churches, the leading
ecumenical movement in the United States, joined other Church leaders
to express their prayers, and solidarity with the people of Ferguson,
Below is the statement of the National Council of Churches, on
Ferguson, as delivered today at Wellspring United Methodist Church in
We live in the hope expressed by the prophet Isaiah:
"Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in."
- Isaiah 58:12
The National Council of Churches is a fellowship of Christian
communions that seeks justice for all and stands with all those who
are oppressed. We are in partnership with pastors and congregations
who are preaching, seeking justice, and providing pastoral care in
Ferguson's churches in the midst of the current tensions. We
celebrate the long-standing presence of members and leaders of this
community that care for, and have cared for, the welfare of their
congregations and the community at large. We are led by their love and
by their stories and counsel. We are also inspired by the young
people who, in their quest for justice, are embodying a faith and
courage that we find to be an example to our churches.
We join the community of Ferguson, and all of those who seek justice
and fairness for all people. We applaud those who practice the very
best in Christian tradition by responding through prayer and
non-violent, peaceful action, and we join with other faith traditions
who urge the same. It is our hope that the city and its citizens,
churches, law enforcement officials, justice-seekers, and media, will
all be shepherded by the teaching of Jesus to love God and to "love
your neighbor as yourself."
Love of God and neighbor motivates us to seek justice and fairness for
everyone. We wish to see a society in which young people "not be
judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their
character (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)." This vision is
jeopardized by issues that revolve around mass incarceration. The
trend toward privatization of prisons creates monetary incentives for
incarcerating people for minor crimes, the vast majority of which are
young black men. The national militarization of local policing
increases the likelihood of grave injustice. Time and time again we
are witnessing the use of lethal force against unarmed persons.
Loving neighbor does not include exploiting others. We call those who
exploit emotions surrounding this grand jury action in ways that bring
further division to consider their motivations and act
compassionately. We urge all parties, in all things, to be guided by
the words of the apostle Paul, that "the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness,
and self-control. There is no law against such things (Galatians
5:22-23)." Where the Spirit of God is, God motivates us to live this
Peace is not merely the absence of conflict; it is also the presence
of justice. Peace is found in the ability to dialogue, to see each
others' side, and to come to a point where relationships are
transformed from those of conflict to conversation. The bridge
between justice and peace is mercy and grace, and as people of faith,
we affirm this bridge, and that the Church, its pastors, and its
members, must be those who proclaim it.
In the weeks that will follow these days of anger, indignation, and
accusation, we call for peace -- one full of robust love that utilizes
our best qualities as human beings. We call on the member communions
of the National Council of Churches in Ferguson to stand in solidarity
with the community to seek liberty and justice for all.
The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA is a leading
force for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United
States. The 37 NCC member communions -- from a wide spectrum of
Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, Evangelical, historic African American
and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than
100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, Metropolitan represents the
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in the United States, and serves as a
member of its governing board.
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