by Terry Smith
Vice President for Church Ministries
Polarization characterizes the current state of affairs in our nation, and it easily creeps into the church. We find ourselves in a cultural atmosphere that chooses either/or over both/and. In our effort to support our Black brothers and sisters by speaking out against inappropriate use of force by a few in law enforcement, and by raising awareness that changes need to be made on a macro level in our nation related to racial injustice, some people have interpreted what we’ve said or written to be statements of non-support for law enforcement in general. That is not at all the message we’re intending to send. While calling out for the correction of a problem with some in law enforcement, we stand in support of the majority of law enforcement officers who are dedicated public servants—who put their lives on the line day after day as they seek to protect their community. Those in law enforcement, hear us clearly: We need you and we deeply appreciate what you do.
We recognize that you and your families attend our Alliance churches. While your jobs are always stressful, we understand that stress has been ratcheted to an even higher level by recent events. You have become the targets of criticism and, in some cases, physical harm. We regret this. We sympathize with the reality that you are called on to make split-second life or death decisions – an unenviable position for anyone. We are sorry that you have been thrown into the same basket with those of your profession who have misused their authority. Please know that we are able to distinguish the difference. We hold you in high esteem and honor you for what you do.
To our Alliance churches, we would suggest that this season could well be a great time for you to reach out to and support the law enforcement officers and their families in your community. Some of you are already doing this and have been for years. You have taken a Sunday each year to honor first responders or you have a prayer ministry that is designed to support your local law enforcement department. We commend those who are doing this and encourage others to consider how your church might come alongside your local law enforcement department to be a blessing and support to them during this challenging time.
We also want to express our gratitude to those of you in The Alliance who serve as police chaplains. Perhaps there has never been a time when your ministry was more needed than right now. We realize that many of you carry out your chaplaincy ministry in addition to your normal pastoral work. You do it as a labor of love, as a service to the Lord and to your community. We honor you for all you are doing to provide emotional and spiritual support for law enforcement officers.
We continue to stand with our Black brothers and sisters with a commitment to use our influence to move our nation away from racial injustice, acknowledging that some reform in the way of law enforcement is carried out may be part of that. At the same time, we stand with our brothers and sisters of all ethnicities in law enforcement who are carrying out their calling with a heart of service, with care and respect for those they serve.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — This month, more than 450 Alliance churches and ministries will receive loan interest rebates totaling $1 million.
Larry McCooey, president of Orchard Alliance, explains, “For the second year in a row, the financial markets have been strong, and our borrowers have been faithfully repaying their loans. Because Orchard Alliance is a non-profit ministry and not a for-profit bank, at the end of our fiscal year we are able to reinvest our financial surplus back into ministry.”
This is the third time in four years that Orchard Alliance has offered rebates to its ministry partners. For 2020, every church or ministry with a current Orchard Alliance loan will receive a proportionate amount of the total rebate—ranging from under $100 to over $30,000.
For more information, or to learn how Orchard Alliance can assist your Alliance ministry with the financing you need, visit www.orchardalliance.org, call toll free 833.ORCH.ALL (833.672.4255), or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Orchard Alliance exists to equip God’s stewards for greater Kingdom impact. Its vision is to see every person and ministry it serves empowered in biblical stewardship, accomplishing God’s purposes for His glory.
David Graf, Vice President for Property Funding and Advisement
Phone: (833) 672-4255
At our recent (June) C&MA Board Meeting we spent significant time and energy discussing the recent events in our nation relating to racial tension and injustice. While The Alliance has made progress in these areas over the years and has responded with helpful resources in this current moment, the Board recognizes the urgent need for further growth, healing, and reconciliation in our nation and within The Alliance. Our posture is one of humility and listening, sharing an unyielding resolve to be faithful to the entirety of Scripture—including its admonition to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).
As a result of these conversations, and after reviewing best practices for organizations related to diversity, the Board has directed these next steps:
C&MA Board Chairperson
Now that cafés are open, friends can meet for coffee and enjoy the warm, fresh air. As my husband, Mark, and I recently sat with a local pastor friend, Bob*, to catch up after being apart for three months, a familiar scene unfolded.
A small man, his head down, approached a table at the end of the café. The person sitting there was busy with his phone and ignored the man, who mumbled something, before gingerly placing a small card on the table. After no response from the table’s occupant, he retrieved the card and came to our table.
As I suspected, he was deaf and offering a small trinket in exchange for any coins we could spare. In this case it was a 2020 calendar card with Donald and Daisy Duck on the back—nothing of value, really, but more dignified than outright begging. He mumbled something and hesitantly offered a card to each of us.
Pastor Bob was the first to pull out a coin and place it on the card, sliding both back to the man. This told him that the money was a gift, and he could “sell” the calendar card to someone else. As Mark reached for his coins, he asked the man, mouthing the words slowly, “What’s your name?”
“D-Dan*,” he stuttered, surprised by the question. Mark stood up, and the man shrank back a bit. But when my husband stuck out his hand and said, “My name’s Mark. Nice to meet you, Dan,” tears welled up in Dan’s eyes.
We gave two more coins for calendar cards we didn’t keep. Dan looked around the table from one face to the next. “You must be real believers,” he said. “No one else even sees me. But you looked at me and saw me. Are you religious teachers? You must be. We [deaf people] sense things others don’t, and I can sense that you are godly people.”
Pastor Bob offered to give Dan a Bible, which he gladly accepted. They exchanged phone numbers in order to connect the next day. When Bob stood up, Dan shrank back again. But Bob went in for a bear hug, and again Dan’s eyes filled with tears as we blessed him and told him that God loves him.
As Dan went on his way, he didn’t stop at any more tables. He crossed the street and found a place away from the crowds where he wept openly. This simple act of kindness gave us a powerful reminder of how desperate people are for God’s love and the dignity we can extend to them in His name. Please pray that Bob will be able to continue to share the hope of Jesus with Dan.
by Kathy, an Alliance international worker serving in Europe/Middle East
In a continued effort to provide understanding and address issues of racism, President John Stumbo and Charles Galbreath, senior pastor of Clarendon Road Church in Brooklyn, New York, will be inviting perspectives from those in the Alliance family who have attended recent protests. We hope you’ll join us!
This livestream event will take place Tuesday, June 23rd at 6PM ET on Facebook Live and Vimeo.
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
—Micah 6:8 (NIV)
The sins of racism and injustice have plagued our nation since its inception. Sadly, we have even witnessed its effects and damage throughout the history of the Church. The devastating loss of lives in the Black community in recent weeks, including the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, has reminded us that injustice still runs rampant in our nation, still strips the Black community of dignity, and still attacks the beauty of the image of God in all humanity. Add to these incidents, the unjust harassment of Christian Cooper while he was birdwatching in Central Park and the killing of Breonna Taylor under suspicious circumstances.
We, the district superintendents and association presidents of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, who give oversight to Alliance churches and ethnic associations in the United States, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, and Guam, and who function in this movement under the oversight of the vice president for Church Ministries, formally denounce racism, injustice, and any and all systems and actions of any group and/or laws that seek to make themselves racially and/or ethnically superior over any other group of people, including Blacks, Native Americans, Asians, and Hispanics. We stand in staunchest opposition to groups that promote white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and others that avow discrimination and segregation of any kind.
Further, we denounce any acts of violence, oppression, or discrimination in any form against any and all people groups that have been marginalized, oppressed, and/or treated as less than human because of their race, background, or socioeconomic status. As a multiethnic, multicultural, diverse movement, whose founder affirmed the humanity and dignity of all people, we declare today that we will not tolerate any acts of racism and/or injustice that we become aware of in any of the districts and/or associations that we oversee.
We repent of any acts of racism and/or injustice—past or present—that have taken place in any of our districts and/or associations, be they overt or covert. We break off any demonic strongholds that have resulted and remain because of these acts. And, we welcome a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit to cleanse our districts and associations and bring a fresh anointing upon each and every one of us, as we declare that we will honor, celebrate, and promote the beauty of the image of God in all of humanity.
It is not just sinful for racism and injustice to exist in our country and/or churches. The Church stands complicit by sitting silent when racism and injustice run rampant in our nation. It is, therefore, the call and the responsibility of the Church to lead the charge in speaking against any and all acts of racism and/or injustice. We stand firm in urging every church of The Christian and Missionary Alliance that falls under our charge to proclaim salvation through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross, to announce His Kingdom of righteousness and justice, to denounce all forms of racism and injustice, and seek to be the voice of change in our communities, where the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, the outcast, and those who have been the victims of any form of racism or injustice in our communities can find refuge, hope, dignity, and love.
As we have just celebrated Pentecost Sunday, the day on which the Holy Spirit was poured out on the early followers of Jesus, we recognize that Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled. In the fulfillment of that prophecy, we also see that the Holy Spirit anointed and blessed the beauty of the diversity of the Kingdom of God. Further, as the early Church grew, so did the diversity of the Church. As a result, we celebrate the beauty in the diversity of God’s Kingdom!
Finally, to the members and adherents of our movement that comprise the Black community, we say today that we lament with you. We are listening to you. We seek to be agents of change with you. And we stand alongside of you. Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.
In the love of Jesus,
The District Superintendents and Association Presidents of The Christian and Missionary Alliance
Han Young Baek, District Superintendent, Korean District
Héctor Belén Jr., District Superintendent, Spanish Central District
Scott R. Borderud, District Superintendent, Southwestern District
Jeffrey P. Brown, District Superintendent, Western Great Lakes District
Harris W. Campbell, Interim District Superintendent, Southeastern District
Lorenzo M. Collado Jr., President, Association of Filipino Churches
Douglas G. Conley, District Superintendent, Mid-Atlantic District
Jorge Cuevas, District Superintendent, Spanish Eastern District
Sarkis A. Diarbi, President, Arabic-Speaking Association
Thomas R. Flanders, District Superintendent, New England District
Thomas George, District Superintendent, Great Lakes District
Siyum Gebretsadik, President, Association of African Churches
Javier Gómez Marrero, District Superintendent, Puerto Rico District
Philip H. Hagar, District Superintendent, Southern District
Marc S. Horace, President, Haitian Association
Nathan D. Howard, District Superintendent, Eastern PA District
Mony Khiev, District Superintendent, Cambodian District
Thach V. Le, District Superintendent, Vietnamese District
Héctor F. Lecaro, President, Spanish Western Association
David B. Linn, District Superintendent, Northeastern District
William W. Malick, District Superintendent, South Pacific District
Jeffrey A. Miller, District Superintendent, Central District
Ronald J. Morrison, President, African-American Pastors, Consecrated Women, and Licensed Workers Association
David A. Nagel, District Superintendent, Western PA District
Michael D. Noel, District Superintendent, South Atlantic District
Dennis D. Pust, Interim District Superintendent, Alliance Northwest District
Jonathan W. Rich, District Superintendent, Midwest District
Mark R. Searing, District Superintendent, Ohio Valley District
Daniel J. Scarrow, District Superintendent, North Central District
Hendy Siu, President, Association of Montagnard Churches
J. Wayne Spriggs, District Superintendent, Central Pacific District
Robert W. Storey, District Superintendent, MidAmerica District
Lantzia C. Thao, District Superintendent, Hmong District
Kelvin L. Walker, District Superintendent, Metropolitan District
Jonathan A. Wiggins, District Superintendent, Rocky Mountain District
Zane M. Williams, President, Native American Association
Kok C. Wong, President, Chinese Churches Association
by Milton Pierce
Let me jump in and add to the current narrative on the American race problem. I’ll give you a very simple illustration and it concerns white Americans in a black context. We need to go back to 1959 in West Africa. A generation of great American missionaries were coming toward the end of their careers. They came out of an America before Martin Luther King. They had given their lives for the people of Africa and done their best to lay the foundations for the planting of the church of Jesus. But it was in a very backward and undeveloped part of the world and life was not easy. Some had even died in their attempt.
Now comes along a new generation of white American missionaries with some radically new ideas.
My wife and I were assigned to live in an old mission house right close to one side of an ancient village composed of mud huts. We were to learn the language and continue the work of evangelizing outlying villages and starting churches.
That old house built of dried mud brick had a good foundation and a good roof but not much else. Just outside the front door and hanging from a tree was the church bell the missionary used to call the local believers for church and they would come. Now here is my illustration. Previous to our arrival the practice was that the missionary rang the bell when they considered it time to call the people for church. One of our first acts was to take that bell down and hang it in the church yard. We told the church people that now it was up to them to ring the bell when they were ready and we would come.
Do you see it? This was a whole new concept of the white missionary becoming the servant of the black man. Not all agreed but some of us chose to position ourselves not as overlords but as fellow workers striving side by side to accomplish something and that, on our part, for the good of the other. In the end, years later we all won, becoming brothers and sisters in Christ not just in a legal sense but in reality. Maybe if you think about it you can see an application to our American situation.”
For more than a decade, our team has collaborated with our local church partner to demonstrate God’s love among the most vulnerable here.
COVID-19, while forcing some of our ministries to shut down, has opened new opportunities to serve. This has included increasing our outreach to one of this city’s most marginalized groups: street boys who have been coming to our community center for years.
Watch the video.
The families of these boys, ranging in age from 5 to 15, send them to our city to study the Quran. They live in abandoned buildings, or on the streets, with no family to raise them. And they spend much of their time begging for their basic needs—food, medicine, clothes, soap, and shoes—as well as a daily quota of money to give to their religious teacher.
Our partner church has built such a solid reputation in this community that two of these religious teachers have begun allowing their students to attend our church once a week to receive medical care, a hot meal, new shoes, and a chance to wash their clothes, bathe, and play in a safe environment. Two years ago, these teachers started allowing us to teach Bible stories to the boys as part of our weekly program.
When COVID-19 forced all schools, churches, mosques, and community centers to close, these boys’ needs only increased. Suddenly, they found many doors closed at the homes where they had previously begged due to fears of the virus’ spread.
The church and our team have stepped up to provide breakfast and lunch for approximately 100 street boys four times a week. Our center and church are still closed, but we can serve these meals at the front door. These youngsters know that the same people who previously played with them, bandaged their cuts and scrapes, and taught them God’s Word, did not abandon them when everyone else started shutting their doors.
Even now, we are asking God to provide more so that we can increase our giving to these boys—there are 10,000 in our city—whom no one else seems to love. We are only an extension of our churches that send us. So thank you for serving these boys through sending us and lifting all these things in prayer.
by an Alliance international worker couple, serving in West Africa
This is a story about my dear Alliance friends in West Africa—Pastor S; his wife, N; and their son, Reuben—who received a miraculous answer to prayer.
In late April, Reuben and two friends were invited to work for a government project in an area with increased terrorist activity. Eager about the employment for which their university educations had prepared them, the three left with their parents’ prayers and blessings. But after the friends had been gone almost two weeks, word came that armed extremists had captured them. No one knew where they were or how they were doing.
When I received the message, I immediately began emailing a network of intercessors. Thousands of Alliance people began praying from across Africa, the Netherlands, and throughout the United States.
On Sunday, May 10, I received a shocking call from Pastor S—the three were home safe! The boys later reported that while at their work site, armed, masked men captured, blindfolded, and bound them in chains, locking them up in a remote location. The captors tried to force the young men, who are Christians, to learn verses from the men’s holy book and repeat their prayers. The three refused, saying they prayed to the Jesus revealed in the Bible.
After the group leader threatened to kill them if they didn’t comply, the young men began to loudly sing the Christian hymns they knew well. At some point after the singing began, the prison door opened; a girl entered and released the three from their chains. When they walked out, there were no masked men. Someone returned all their belongings, including their motorbikes, and pointed to the road safely out of the area.
Pastor S told me that after the boys arrived on Sunday, exhausted and tired, people came cheering and crying with joy to see these three lost sons who returned safely after 13 days in captivity. This experience has brought to life for me the Acts 16 story of Paul and Silas released from prison.
I share this story to also honor my friend N’s request. “Tell everybody what Jesus can do when you pray!”
adapted from a report by an Alliance worker from the Netherlands, serving in West Africa
With the recent events that have befallen our nation as a result of racial violence, many Christians have acknowledged that they would like to broaden their understanding of the issues of racism and justice to help them better become agents of reconciliation in their communities and beyond.
To assist in this effort, the following scripture passages, books, and other resources* have been recommended by Alliance leaders and those who recently participated in a panel discussion on Race, Justice, and the Church’s Response led by Alliance President John Stumbo and Corporate Vice President Kelvin Walker.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.
1God presides over heaven’s court; he pronounces judgment on the heavenly beings: 2 “How long will you hand down unjust decisions by favoring the wicked? Interlude 3 “Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. 4 Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people. 5 But these oppressors know nothing; they are so ignorant! They wander about in darkness, while the whole world is shaken to the core. 6 I say, ‘You are gods; you are all children of the Most High. 7 But you will die like mere mortals and fall like every other ruler.’” 8 Rise up, O God, and judge the earth, for all the nations belong to you.
Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster, and their reign of terror will come to an end.
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
Amos 5:14 & 5:24
14 Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed. 15 Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people.
This is what the Lord says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent!
“Just Mercy” (Free for the month of June): https://www.justmercyfilm.com/
*The Alliance does not specifically endorse any of the resources featured in this article, but simply offers them as a means to broaden understanding and perspective on issues of race and justice.