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Dear Chapel family,

I’m confident that many of you are as saddened and disturbed as I am about the recent events surrounding the protests in Charlottesville Virginia. I value and acknowledge the freedoms of speech and public assembly we have under our Constitution and I abhor the violence that has broken out on all sides of this tragedy. Yet, as I look at the content and tenor of this protest, I am grieved by its racially charged rhetoric that went well beyond its stated objective of stopping the removal of a statue. I am usually slow to come to conclusions about the accuracy of news coverage, but in this circumstance, there can be little doubt about the racial motivations of the leaders of the protest – if not many of the protesters themselves. I am also shocked and alarmed by the level of hatred and anger that has been displayed. I do not think we as Christians can be silent in moments like these.

To my black brothers and sisters, I want you to know how treasured you are by God and His people. You are part of the biggest family in the world and your brothers and sisters of all colors stand with you. You are not alone. Take courage and do not give in to anger or bitterness. To my brothers and sisters of other hues, I encourage you to reach out to your black brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends and offer them a word of comfort and support. While many of those protesters consider themselves Christians, they do not speak for God or His people. But their words, if unopposed, will create that impression. I urge all of us to do all things out of a heart of love, humility and grace, for we too are broken and sinful people unworthy to judge others. Let us not lash out or strike out, but let our lives and words shine like the sun. May the world know us for our unity in Christ in such divisive times. Let us also pray for our leaders, the victims, the frightened, the angry and the protesters themselves.

God, may you do a redemptive work that is even greater than the damage done over the past few days. May you comfort the families of the victims. May you bring peace to troubled hearts and may “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” – and may that begin with us. Amen.

Scott Chapman
Senior Pastor

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