John McVay’s* recent worship presentation at Walla Walla University (WWU), and Alex Bryan’s* powerful Sabbath sermon, each in response to the painful racist realities infecting even our very own institutions, have greatly heartened me.
As Seventh-day Adventists, we have too often been reluctant to broach the uncomfortable topic of “White Privilege,” as it relates to maintaining “systems” and attitudes of racism within our denomination, while quietly corroding the effective impact of the message, mission and ministry of our church to the world.
The historically deep roots of racism in America and, sadly, within the Seventh-day Adventist Church, are well known. The silence of most of our leadership, with the concomitant reluctance to redress grievances quickly and effectively, adds to the continued pain and heartbreak of many major demographic groups within our church.
I am encouraged, and remain steadfast in my belief, that through the abundant grace of Christ we will, together, find the courage and the will to challenge the past, to reconcile the present, and to forge a future more deeply reflective of Christ’s own Spirit and character.
I applaud the leadership of WWU, as well as the pastoral team of the University Church, for quickly and directly addressing the most recent painful incident and utilizing this “teachable moment” to aid understanding of the historical attitudes and systems, which undergird and maintain such destructive beliefs and behaviors.
It is both my hope and my prayer that all of our schools, institutions and conferences will be just as courageous and proactive regarding any similar incidents or related issues going forward.