Racial unity has a vertical answer, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which compels us to a horizontal action, ultimately bringing healing and justice.
Email excerpts from Senior Pastor and Head of Staff, Rev. Dr. Drew Sams, to congregation (October 2020):
- At Bel Air Church, we are endeavoring to be a community that follows Jesus every day, and everywhere, with everyone.
- Following Jesus leaves ZERO room for racism, prejudice, discrimination, and anything that harms the image of God in another person.
- To that end, it leaves ZERO room for us to see or treat others differently than how Jesus treats them: with dignity, respect, and sacrificial love.
- Sin has created a very long laundry list of all the ways humans can love yourself above your neighbor rather than “loving your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31) and we must avoid these things as individuals and as a community.
- Moreover, it is not enough to simply avoid these things.
- Jesus has called all of us to the highest calling: to proactively be ministers of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:14–21)
- May the power of Jesus through the Holy Spirit transform and unite us as we endeavor to grow as ministers of reconciliation every day, everywhere and with everyone.
Articulation Task Force
In November of 2020, a sub-committee of the Session (the elected and ordained leadership) of Bel Air Church was formed around the issue of racial unity. Recognizing that a diversity of perspective was hindering us from truly hearing and knowing one another well, this group committed itself to wrestling, listening, and learning from one another and from a variety of members within our church family. The seven member task force was comprised of 50% of currently-seated ruling elders and 50% of the pastoral team.
This has been and will be a work in progress. There are no quick fixes or easy answers. There is only the work of a long obedience in the same direction (as Eugene Peterson would say).
To this end, we commit ourselves to the ongoing next steps of equipping our congregation, in word and deed, to love our neighbors as ourselves in ways that reflect the heart of God for all humanity as revealed in scripture.