Celebrating Freedom on Juneteenth

June 19, 2021 | | Messages from the Bishop

Juneteenth celebrates the final freeing of slaves. Today we celebrate freedom. We celebrate the powerful testimony to the faith and conviction people have in God and the goodness of people.

Today we celebrate the gift African Americans are to our nation through their past and present amazing contributions that shapes our country into what it is today. Black lives not only matter; Black lives inspire, uplift, educate. Black lives make the world a better place.

Today we celebrate Black lives and Black freedom.

But amid the celebration, there is much that still needs to be done. Today, let us recognize the need for action, for compassion, for collaboration.

The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves but not from the sins of discrimination, biases and racism that continue today through individual, interpersonal, institutional and structural racism. Lord in your mercy, forgive us!

We will not see change until we all work together to understand, change and live differently. It is not enough for you or me to live our lives differently. Each of us, as followers of Jesus Christ, are called to be a catalyst for a larger change. I call all of us to find ways to be the risen Christ in the midst of hatred, violence and racism.

I call each of us to demonstrate our conviction that God has created us as one people and that racism requires us to work together toward long-term change. Hatred and separation of the races are not of God.

On this Juneteenth, I celebrate with you the heritage of African Americans and GNJ’s commitment to freedom, to justice and to working together to end the sin of racism. I’m thankful for the changes being made today and for the changes that will be made in the future—changes that will make us a better people, a better church, a better nation and better leaders.