Public Statement from the Owatonna Ministerial Association
Public Statement from the Owatonna Ministerial Association "But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” - Amos 5:24
Racism is a sin that destroys lives, breaks relationships, and as we witnessed last week, kills.
The Owatonna Ministerial Association, representing faith communities throughout Steele County, joins together in condemning the brutal and unwarranted killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. We rebuke the sin of racism in all its forms, and we seek justice and reconciliation in our communities.
The scriptures describe humans as being created “in the image of God.” And when creation was complete, God said “it is very good.” (Genesis 1:31) All of creation was declared to be “good.”
Beginning with slavery, systems have been created that have perpetuated social and economic injustice. While those in the dominant culture would like to think that we have evolved beyond these forms of racism, in truth those systems still exist. Educational and economic inequalities continue to perpetuate a class structure, which contributes to the erosion of families who are on the margins. Those systems are racist. Those systems are contrary to God’s desire that all of creation is “good.” Those systems are sin.
The tragic and criminal death of George Floyd at the hands of those sworn to serve and protect, and the anger that followed remind us that racism continues to thrive.
We believe in justice for George Floyd. Yes, legal justice. But even more, the kind of justice that the prophet Amos describes. God’s justice ultimately isn’t about crime and punishment, or even fairness. God’s justice is about a people being redeemed and restored. Justice is about wrong being made right.
We repent for things we have done, or things we have not done, which have perpetuated systemic racism. We believe that we can do better, and we are committed to trying. We believe that conversations about issues of race and justice are a necessary starting point. We believe that these conversations need to begin with white people deeply listening to the experiences and feelings of our siblings of color.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that “The ultimate measure of a man (sic) is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” About these issues of race, we cannot be silent. We believe that it is the responsibility of all people of good conscience to stand with those who have been oppressed.
Racism marginalizes entire groups of people. Racism says that their lives do not matter. Our faith in Christ tells us something different. We believe that all of God’s people have value and are loved beyond measure. Our faith tells those who have suffered under racism that they matter. Love will always defeat racism. Love always wins.
Our deepest prayer is that our community comes together in love to listen, to learn, to develop new relationships and to work to restore justice and righteousness, for all of God’s people.
Rev. Mark Biebighauser Trinity Lutheran Church, Medford
Rev. Linda Boorman Owatonna United Methodist Church
Rev. Todd Buegler Trinity Lutheran Church
Rev. Brent Carlson Christ Community Covenant Church
Rev. Lisa Carlson Our Savior’s Lutheran Church
Rev. Coqui Conkey Associated Church
Deacon Pat Fagan St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
Rev. Amanda Floy Trinity Lutheran Church
Rev. Cindy Halvorson Trinity Lutheran Church
Rev. Dave Klawiter St. John Lutheran Church
Rev. Carla Nelson First Baptist Church
Deacon Kris Oppegard Trinity Lutheran Church
Rev. Scott Peterson New Beginnings Church
Father John Sauer Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Rev. Greg Schlicker Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Rev. Dean Smith St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Meriden and Zion Lutheran Church, Ellendale
Rev. Jacie Richmond St. John Lutheran Church
Rev. Joel Stauffer NewLife Community Church
Rev. Michael Tippitt St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Rev. Mike Walerius First Lutheran Church, Blooming Prairie
Rev. John Weisenberger Our Savior’s Lutheran Church
Rev. Carla Nelson First Baptist Church