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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Bryan-College Station pastors issue joint statement denouncing racism

via Grace Bible Church Facebook page

Brian Fisher, senior pastor of Grace Bible Church, is one of the original authors of the statement.

Senior pastors from 72 churches in the Bryan-College Station area joined together this weekend to sign a joint statement denouncing racism, racial injustice and law enforcement officers’ misuse of authority.
Some of the signing pastors gathered at the Bryan County Municipal Building at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 15, to read from the Bible about destroying the barriers of race, proclaim their statement and pray for unity in Bryan-College Station.
Sylvester Smith, Ph.D., Senior Pastor of New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, organized Monday’s event and said all pastors left with the commitment to unify their churches and communities.
“I witnessed for the first time here in our county that God brought us together and no one was concerned about their titles, their church affiliation, their status, and they said by their presence we will not allow anything to divide us because God is bigger than us,” Smith said. “I believe the gathering of those individuals speaks for what they believe needs to take place here and across our nations.”
The statement opens with 1 Corinthians 12:26, “If one member suffers, all suffer together…,” followed by a paragraph grieving the death of George Floyd, the history of racism in America, the Church’s prior inaction and police abuse of authority.
“We grieve the long history of prejudice and racism experienced by people of color in our nation,” the statement reads. “We grieve that the Church has not done more to heal the divisions in the name of Christ. We grieve that the misuse of authority by some law enforcement officers brings both unnecessary harm on the people they are called to protect and overshadows the brave and sacrificial work of many other officers who uphold justice with dignity and integrity.”
The statement goes on to denounce racism and racial injustice, citing nine Bible verses that instruct Christians to stand up for truth and justice and protect those in need.
“Racism is evil and is an affront to our Creator who made each of us — from every ethnic background, female and male, young and old, rich and poor, weak and strong — in His image,” the statement reads. “Because we are all equal in the eyes of our Creator…we are committed to treat one another with dignity and respect…to speak up and protect the vulnerable among us …to provide for the needy among us…to live righteous lives….to stand for truth and justice…and…to love and to forgive.”
The original statement was drafted by three local pastors, including Smith and Grace Bible Church senior pastor Brian Fisher. Fisher said they distributed the document to the established local church network and it spread from there, with churches from outside of Bryan-College Station requesting to sign the statement as well.
“Speaking with one voice is both powerful and necessary,” Fisher said. “Our goal was not to make a political statement. One of our concerns was that a moral issue — racism — had become a political issue. We wanted to speak with one voice in addressing racism as a moral evil and an affront to the Creator who made every man and woman from every race in His image.”
Fisher said within each church, pastors are encouraging people to think about those from different backgrounds, make connections with them, ask them about their experiences and “demonstrate the love of Christ for marginalized people and people with fewer material resources than ourselves.”
“Racism is universal,” Fisher said. “It exists in every community, in every state, in every nation, and to some degree within every human heart. We are encouraging our people to build deep relationships with people who are different from themselves. Such relationships expand our understanding and our empathy.”
While racism cannot be eliminated by a single statement, Smith said he hopes this is the first step to building unity in Bryan-College Station and beyond.
“I believe this is what God called us to do because we are all God’s children created in the image of Him and by Him,” Smith said. “It’s still burning in my heart to continue to tear those walls that divide us on Sunday morning and when we see ourselves worshipping and fellowshipping together I believe we will get to know one another.”

Below is a list of all of the pastors who are signatories on the statement:
Troy Allen, Senior Pastor, First Baptist College Station
Craig Anderson, Pastor, Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Bryan
Greg Anderson, Lead Minister, A&M Church of Christ
Calvin Arnold, Pastor, The Fellowship (Galilee/TCAC, et. al)
Timothy Ateek, Executive Director, Breakaway Ministries
Rev. Emily Beghin, First Presbyterian Church of Bryan
Phillip Bethancourt, Senior Pastor, Central Church
Jacob Biswell, Pastor, New World Worship Center
Sherdonna Bragg, Pastor, New Heights Church
Jonathan Brooks, Pastor, Restoration Church Bryan
Ramiro Castillo, Senior pastor, Southern Oaks Baptist Church
Blake Chilton, Pastor, Declaration Church
Rev. A.C. Clark III, Pastor, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church
Chad Clark, Founder, One Hope Movement
Wade Coleman, Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church
John Collier, Pastor, New Beginnings Bryan
Rev. Eleanor L. Colvin, Pastor, First UMC College Station
Melvin O. Cooper, Pastor, St. Matthew Baptist Church
Rev. Greg Crosthwait, Church of the Incarnation
Rev. Dr. Dan DeLeon, Senior Pastor, Friends Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
Jason DeVerna, Pastor, Connecting Point Church
Rev Christian & Anita Dorsey, Pastors, The Gathering Church
Steve Doyle, Director of Missions, Creath-Brazos Baptist Association
Allen Duty, Preaching Pastor, New Life Baptist Church
Eric Evje, Lead Pastor, Living Hope Bryan
Brian Fisher, Senior Pastor, Grace Bible Church
Ted Foote, Jr., Pastor, First Presbyterian Church – Bryan
Paul Fowler, Pastor, Life/Church BCS
Rev. Elaine Gomulka, Pastor, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church
Danny Green, Pastor, Skybreak Church
Preston Greenwaldt, Senior Pastor, A&M United Methodist Church
Bishop Maurice Green, Pastor, Lily of the Valley Church of God in Christ
Rev. Ben Hailey, Lead Teaching Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, College Station
Katy Haislet, Pastor, A&M United Methodist Church
Tyler Hardy, Pastor, Antioch Community Church
Daryl Hay, Rector, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
Jim Heiligman, Pastor, First Baptist Bryan
Anthony Hill, Pastor, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church
Rev. Sam Hill, Pastor, North Bryan New Birth Baptist Church
Jason Horine, Pastor, Wellborn Baptist Church
Jerry House, Lead Pastor, Christ United Methodist Church
John Hubbard, Pastor, Mt. Olive Baptist Church
Charles Jefferson, Pastor, Peaceful Rest Baptist Church
Blake Jennings, Teaching Pastor, Grace Bible Church Southwood
Loren Johnson, Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church
Dr. C. L. King, Pastor, Mt. Nebo Baptist Church
Cristobal Ledezma, Pastor, Casa De Dios Ministries, Bryan
Will Lewis, Senior Pastor, Brazos Fellowship
Pastor Hong I Lim, Pastor, Vision Mission Church
Chris Liotta, Lead Pastor, Rivergate Church
Dan Marshall, Pastor, Faith Bible Church
Obed Matus, Pastor, Verdades Biblicas
Elder George Moore Jr, Pastor, Savior Temple COGIC
Matt Morton, Teaching Pastor, Grace Bible Church Creekside
David Murphy, Staff Chaplain, Baylor Scott & White Hospital, College Station
Rev. Caressa Murray and Rev. Jonathan Murray, Co-Pastors, Covenant Presbyterian Church, College Station
Marie Nutall, Pastor, New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church
Mario, Parga, Pastor, Aldersgate
Sándor Paull, Pastor, Christland Church
Alan Pittman, Living Hope Baptist Church, CS
JJ Ramirez, Director, SOS Ministries
David Reynolds, Pastor, Engage Calvary
Ron Rich, Associate Director of Missions, Creath Brazos Association
Ben Rush, Pastor, Citizens Church
Eddie Sahakian, Pastor, Redeemed Church
Rev. Rick Sitton, First United Methodist Church
Dr. Sylvester Smith, Jr., Pastor, New Zion Missionary Baptist Church
Scot Stolz, Pastor, Community Church
Clyde Strong, Pastor, Bethel Baptist Church
Jennifer Webber, Pastor, First United Methodist Church
Jerry Wirtley, Pastor, Treehouse Ministries
Craig Yates, Pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church

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