Dear Friends of Wesley,
This year has been a time of great challenge. We have seen many of our deepest held values challenged not only by hooded thugs who do not respect the humanity of all, but also by the most powerful persons in government. White supremacy and ethnocentrism are rooted in weakness and fear.
Mischaracterization and lies, including those of men in leadership, would obscure the reality that the greatness of this land has been the flower of our multiculturalism. This land has benefited from the wisdom and values of the Original Communities. We ignore their witness at the peril of the earth and all humanity.
African Americans, many of whom share an ancestry of persons forced into slavery, built much of this country. Their work before and since emancipation form the basis of our national wealth. We will never acknowledge this fact until we address the economic disparity that exists between the races that live together in our nation.
We also acknowledge that the hard work and creativity of immigrants and their families have allowed succeeding generations to inherit prosperity and opportunity. Today’s immigrants are providing the insight and expertise to meet the challenges of the emerging global community.
This generation must not tolerate attacks on Native Americans [Standing Rock], all persons of color [Charlottesville], and our newest community members [DACA]. At stake is all we live for, all we love, and all we are.
The Wesley Community Center strives to be a place for all people, for justice, for the earth, and for young adults. We will not relent. We have worked with the Civil Liberties Defense Center this year to provide at least three “Know Your Rights” trainings. Much of this time has been focused on solidarity with folks who are being targeted, especially immigrants and their families. Programs have been shared to support the work of the protesters at Standing Rock. More work is planned.
I want to share with you words written by the new bishop of the Oregon Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church. She is a living reminder that people of faith do not universally rubber stamp the whims of the current Executive in Chief. Any powerful, wealthy figure can find “religious leaders” to endorse them. This has been true since the invention of wealth and the creation of myths of power.
Real faith, real justice, real kindness – all – reject power myths and violence. They cause us to stand up with and for persons whose rights are endangered.
The Wesley Community Center is a non-proselytizing place. Everyone is welcome. We have friends who are atheist, agnostic, and secular. Friends who come from various spiritual disciplines and communities.
However broad our community is, it is sometimes appropriate to draw from leaders within the faith community. I hope you will find the words of these folks helpful: