By Robert Dilday
Congregations around the country are being urged to participate in “Freedom from Racism Sunday” on July 5, when many churches will mark Independence Day in worship services.
The New Baptist Covenant has joined the National African American Clergy Network in supporting the event, organized in the wake of the shootings which killed nine members of Mother Emanuel AME Church last week in Charleston, S.C.
Freedom from Racism Sunday should focus on “prophetic grief,” said Otis Moss Jr., retired pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland. Moss is a co-convener of the Freedom Sunday Coalition and an advisor to the New Baptist Covenant.
“Prophetic grief is different from pathetic grief,” said Moss in a sermon June 23. “Pathetic grief is angry, mad, vicious, bitter, always blaming others. And then there is sympathetic grief, where we pass out sympathy but do not necessarily enter into the other person’s tragic moment.
“But then there is prophetic grief, where we stand inside of the other’s wounds, and hurt, and blood, and tears, and sorrow, so deeply that it becomes our own — that is prophetic grief.”
NBC coordinator Hannah McMahan said the Charleston shootings, an act of domestic terrorism which appears to be have been motivated by racial hatred, has left the country “outraged and heartbroken.”
“Once again we are reminded how deeply the sin of racism runs in our society and the urgent need to redeem our broken communities from its cancerous clutches,” McMahan said. “Freedom from Racism Sunday makes space for prophetic grief, a grief that will empower us to transform our communities and seek authentic reconciliation. NBC will stand in solidarity with the National African American Clergy Network and American Methodist Episcopal Church as we mourn the loss of our brothers and sister in Charleston and to recommit ourselves to the daily task of dismantling racism from our communities, from our churches and from our hearts.”
Additional information is available on the New Baptist Covenant website.
Sunday’s coming: Freedom from Racism, by Bill Leonard