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June 5, 2020
TO: All PBA Congregations
FROM: James E. McJunkin, Regional Executive Pastor
RE: George Floyd, Systemic Change & COVID-19
We join in solidarity with the movement for social justice and systemic change that is sweeping across the nation and the world. We will move forward with our commitment for good public policy regarding the pandemic COVID-19 to promote needed systemic change. The Board of Directors has adopted a statement for all PBA congregations to consider with recommended actions.
Many of our clergy have stated an interest in advocacy efforts to address the low levels of testing, contact tracing an quarantine across the state of Pennsylvania and in communities of color hardest hit by the pandemic. I have provided a plan to move forward in the Solidarity Philadelphia pdf. I am thankful for the work of Rev. Greta Wagner in drafting a letter to be used in advocacy efforts please find sample letter(s) attached as well. A bible study is provided for related biblical/theological reflection among our congregations.
We continue in the efforts to engage civic leaders in our efforts in responding to the pandemic. We are working with State Senator Vincent Hughes, Rev. Dr. Wilson Goode, Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia and Esperanza in efforts to promote meaningful systemic change. We are close to announcing a date for a forum/video conference. Our civic leaders are responding to the protest energy and concerns for public safety that have emerged in light of the killing of George Floyd. The date of the forum will be announced as soon as possible.
The Board of Directors has voted to support an effort for COVID-19 testing that emerged from one of our congregations (Salem Baptist). If you would like to provide financial support for the Doctors Consortium that is providing testing in underserved communities of color send in your contribution along with your regular mission gifts. Indicate the amount that is given specifically for COVID-19 testing. We will forward your gifts to the consortium.
Please know that our commitments are unyielding as they are fueled by the leading of the Spirit. Please read the documents provided. We will announce the next steps the Philadelphia Baptist Association’s commitments for social change and the protection of human life.