Racial Reconciliation & Equality
Update From Our Lead Pastors
Thursday, July 29, 2021
At Liberty Church, we believe we are called as Christians to live unified in our diversity across barriers of race and culture. We believe racial reconciliation, healing, and equality have been made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Last year we shared publicly a statement of our beliefs around racial reconciliation, that included our theology, our vision and values, a number of helpful resources, and also an Action Plan to hold ourselves accountable to making meaningful progress and change. Let’s face it, we need more than words to bring about change.
Now, I’d like to provide you with an update on some of the tangible steps we have taken since we posted the plan. We are thankful for the progress that has been made, while also acknowledging that the work is far from done. I hope you’re encouraged and will join us in this work of reconciliation that we have been called to as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Since we created our action plan last year:
- Our staff completed an intensive anti-racism and racial reconciliation training and consulting with Be the Bridge. These 3-day dynamic and interactive workshops trained our staff on cultural intelligence, anti-racism and implicit bias from a biblical lens. It also included two follow-up consultations with the Exec team with a focus on creating meaningful change. A number of ongoing changes are being implemented across the staff as a result of this initiative.
- Our Executive team has met with the people of color on our staff to learn more about their experiences, hopes and insights for how to create a more inclusive and honoring culture on our staff and in our local church communities.
- We have embraced a wider genre of music styles and sources as we added new songs to our worship experiences that better reflect our diverse communities both on and off the platform at a local level.
- Our Liberty Next Gen Team (Kids & Youth) has focused efforts on curating and resourcing families and local communities with discipleship content through a lens of diversity and multiculturalism. We commit to celebrating our leaders of color and seek to develop a more robust team of perspectives and experiences. To do this, we will empower and equip our teams with content from authors of color and will challenge our children to look at the Bible through perspectives around the world.
- We celebrated Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month for the first time as a church in addition to Black History Month.
- I hosted a series of interviews called Conversations For Change that we shared online, with people of color across our church as well as faith leaders.
- We have sought out Outreach opportunities that specifically aimed to support people who have been marginalized by systemic racism and various injustices including:
- Love Your Neighbor Outreach Week – All Communities
During this week-long virtual outreach, each church community teamed up with a neighboring community partner to provide personal items (i.e. masks, gloves, sanitizer, vitamin packs, etc) and an encouraging note.
- Thanksgiving Shopping Experience – Downtown Brooklyn
We partnered with the Farragut Community Center in Brooklyn and provided Thanksgiving Food for families in the community. Many of the people in the community have been marginalized by systemic racism. This event was grant-funded to provide food.
- Farragut Christmas Party – Downtown Brooklyn
This outreach indirectly provided gifts to the children of the Farragut community.
- Scholarships Interns – Manzini
We provided scholarships for interns of the Community Center in Manzini. The grant funds were used to help people fund education and business ventures.
- Dream Center Food Pantry and Toy Give Away- Upper West Side
We came alongside the Dream Center and created an opportunity where staff and volunteers were able to participate in the food pantry and toy giveaway in a meaningful way to serve disadvantaged communities.
- Back to School at Farragut – Downtown Brooklyn
This outreach provided high quality backpacks to the children of the Farragut Community Center in Brooklyn.
- Serving at the Bowery Mission – Downtown Manhattan
Here we partnered with The Bowery Mission and created an opportunity where staff and volunteers were able to participate in the food pantry in a meaningful way to serve the homeless community.
There is much more work yet to be done, and in the coming months we are committed to-
- Diversifying our theological voices through shared learning on our staff
- Creating training and policies for our staff to ensure a safe and fulfilling work environment
- Offering Community Groups in our local church communities to discuss racial reconciliation and equality from a biblical viewpoint, and
- Teaching on issues of racism and justice in our next series this August across the church.
Thank you for your continued commitment to participate in the work of racial reconciliation, to celebrate the diversity of our church, and to advocate for racial equity. Please pray with us as we continue to take steps towards a future where honor, inclusion, and celebration of all God’s people is infused into every aspect of our culture and that we acknowledge and actively work against racism and prejudice in all of its forms.
Paul & Andi Andrew
Lead Pastors, Liberty Church
Our Statement on Racial Reconciliation & Equality
We are called as Christians to live unified in our diversity across barriers of race and culture. We believe racial reconciliation, healing, and equality has been made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are called as the Church to model for the world what it means to live racially reconciled as brothers and sisters in Christ. We believe that by advocating for racial equality and justice, opposing racism and helping those marginalized and oppressed, we display God’s heart for all humanity.
For a more in-depth scriptural response, resources and more: click here
Our Path Forward
At Liberty Church, around the world we envision a future where honor, inclusion, and celebration of all God’s people is infused into every aspect of our culture and that we acknowledge and actively work against racism and prejudice. We acknowledge, lament, and repent of the Church’s complicity in racism, and are committed to the continual work of reconciliation and healing that reflects the fullness of Christ on the earth.
We define reconciliation as an ongoing spiritual process that involves forgiveness, repentance, and justice, that restores broken relationships and systems to the way God intended them to be.
-Brenda Salter McNeil, Roadmap to Reconciliation 2.0
OUR COMMITMENTS TO RACIAL RECONCILIATION
We commit to outreach opportunities and partnerships that serve people in underserved areas in our communities brought on by systemic racism. (Isaiah 1:17)
We commit to suspending judgment and opinion when engaging in conversations around race, and instead choose to feel with people, seek to understand their suffering and lament as we heal from racial injustice. (1 Corinthians 12:26-27)
We commit to seeking knowledge and understanding about issues that affect different people. As a church, we will provide opportunities for people to be educated about the realities of personal prejudice and judgment, and systemic racism and oppression. (Proverbs 18:15)
We commit to fostering genuine connections with those different from us. As a church, we will foster ways people from marginalized communities can gain access to opportunities and resources.(1 Corinthians 12:21-27)
We commit to celebrating a diversity of cultural expressions, affirming the dignity and equality of all, and honoring those whose sacrifices have afforded us greater racial equality. (Romans 12:10)
We commit to financially investing in and supporting organizations and communities who are actively fighting racism and fostering greater racial equity. (Psalm 112:5)
OUR 2020-2021 ACTION PLAN
Amend Making Liberty Home documents and curriculum to include our stance on anti-racism, our commitment to reconciliation, and God’s heart for the whole body of Christ.
Equip our Staff and local Liberty Church teams with tools, education and training on racial trauma and subsequent healing methods so that we can guide every person to a more connected and safe environment.
Introduce to our current and future staff our new Commitment to Unity, where we commit together as staff to embodying our core values and pursuing racial equality in our day to day interactions, creating an organizational culture where inclusion and diversity are celebrated.
We acknowledge the ways in which predominantly white, western styles and sources of worship caters to that audience and their musical preferences. We commit to embracing a wider genre of music styles and sources that reflects our diverse communities both on and off the platform at a local level.
Our Liberty Next Generation Team will strive to embody and celebrate diversity in our curriculum selection and in each environment and gathering we host, while also providing parents with resources to disciple their children with a biblical approach to racial reconciliation and equality. We commit to building a spirit of inclusion in all of our Liberty Kids & Youth experiences; from a welcoming atmosphere to a diverse representation in our books, resources, curriculum and team.
As a staff, we commit to building genuine connections beyond racial lines, having uncomfortable conversations to address prejudice as needed, modeling racial reconciliation, and leading with vulnerability. We commit to embodying Liberty Church’s commitments to racial reconciliation in our personal lives.
Seek outreach opportunities that support people who have been marginalized by systemic racism and various injustices resulting from systemic oppression and participate in these personally as staff members.
Reading & Resources
Racial Reconciliation Biblical Mandate
For a more in-depth scriptural response to racism reconciliation & equality, click the button below.view now
Racial Reconciliation Resources
For a list of recommended resources which we found helpful and used as references as we developed our response, click the button below.view now
Conversations For Change
Lead Pastor of Liberty Church, Paul Andrew, has conversations with various guests around the topic of race, injustice, and the ways of Jesus.