White Pastors Ask Black Pastors for Forgiveness and Commit to Work Towards Racial Justice During Event at Bethel AME Church

Joe Wittwer, lead pastor of Life Center Church (podium) is shielded from rain by Bethel AME Church Pastor Emeritus Lonnie Mitchell on Friday September 25, 2020 in in Spokane, Wash. | Facebook/Count Us In: Beyond Words Spokane

A group of white clergy asked their black counterparts for forgiveness and prayerfully committed to actively work to achieve racial justice as they marked four months since the death of George Floyd at the Bethel AME Church in Spokane, Washington, Friday.

“Our nation suffers under the burden of its original sin of racism and white supremacy. And far too often the church has been complicit and let me add particularly my branch of the church — evangelicals,” said Joe Wittwer, lead pastor of Life Center Church, at the “Count Us In: Beyond Words” event, organized by the Beyond Words Movement.

The movement brings together leaders from across the nation, including pastors, attorneys and corporate diversity managers, who are united in their desire to make racial justice a reality in America. Spearheaded by the Justice Journey Alliance, the Beyond Words Movement collaborates with ReWire to enlist church leaders nationwide to lead their communities into action to address systemic racism.

According to The Spokesman-Review, more than 60 people gathered for Friday’s event, which Wittwer admitted he wasn’t sure he would have attended.

“Over the years, I’ve been to at least a half dozen of these ceremonies of repentance and confession. We make pledges and we make promises and very little, if anything, seems to change,” he said.

He was persuaded to stand for justice again, however, because of his relationship with a diverse group of pastors, his two black grandsons and a desire to continually walk in repentance as a “way of life.”

“We have been blind to our white privilege and have failed to leverage it for good when we could and should. We have ignored or denied systemic racism and our silence about it and the injustice it perpetuates have devastating consequences for our black and brown brothers and sisters,” he said.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair