Dear Members and Friends of the Synod of Lincoln Trails,
Have you been to the Synod office before?
If not, let me describe it for you: We’re in Indianapolis, a few miles north of downtown, in a 3-story building called the Indiana Interchurch Center (or IIC). The IIC was created in 1967 to be “a living demonstration to the world that it is possible . . . to have unity without sacrificing freedom.” I was not surprised to learn that the Presbyterians helped to conceive of and create this place!
Now the name “IIC” may be a little misleading in that of the two dozen organizations that take up space, only some are Christian. Others are Jewish, agnostic, secular. You get the idea. All are committed to transforming the world in the best way they know how! Unity and freedom.
Everyday I come to work in a building that welcomes all.
ALL are welcome here.
– – –
This morning as I walked through the doors on my way to the office, however, I imagined how it would feel to be unwelcome, here or elsewhere. Unwelcome because of my gender- identity- race- beliefs-
Suddenly Indiana, my new home, did not feel so safe. And “unwelcome” seemed more of a euphemism for something we don’t like to name.
Discrimination is wrong. Discrimination under the guise of religious freedom is so very, very wrong. Lord have mercy on us, Presbyterians, if we do not use our privilege and power to right the wrongs in our communities, and in ourselves.
We believe that the church must therefore stand by people in any form of suffering and need, which implies, among other things, that the church must witness against and strive against any form of injustice, so that justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
We believe that the church as the possession of God must stand where the Lord stands, namely against injustice and with the wronged; that in following Christ the church must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and thus control and harm.
— Confession of Belhar
In the Synod of Lincoln Trails we are called to be agents of justice and reconciliation.
Our individual and collective faithful responses to RFRA will be a marathon, not a sprint. They will be multi-faceted, not singular. For example:
Your courageous voice from the pulpit, pews, facebook pages, living rooms, basketball bleachers, grocery store aisles… matter. What crucial conversations are you engaged in? What role are you playing as an agent of justice and reconciliation? How can the Synod help you?
You are the voice of Christ.
This Holy Week we remember that Jesus said “Forgive them, for they know not what they do” – and we too must be agents of justice and reconciliation.
There is a better way forward than RFRA. And now we Presbyterians are called to be “a living demonstration to the world that it is possible . . . to have unity without sacrificing freedom.”
I invite you to continue the dialogue on the Synod’s facebook page.
Your Sister in Christ,
the Rev. Sara Dingman,
Transitional Synod Executive