We support our Black brothers and sisters. We love you. We want to hear you. In response to the need for racial reconciliation, our pastors and staff acknowledge that as believers focused on bringing hope to our community, we need to do better at listening and understanding.  We believe that we were reconciled with Christ ultimately to help others reconcile. We are learning, discussing and are aware of a consistent need for growth in the area of racial reconciliation across our nation and within the church. We hope you will join us on this journey.As a church, we are actively engaging in these biblical callings in response to the events of these past weeks.  We are lamentingHow long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?    How long will you hide your face from me?How long must I take counsel in my soul   and have sorrow in my heart all the day?Psalm 13:1-2Because part of our church is suffering, we are called to suffer together (1 Corinthians 12:26). We mourn the injustice of what has happened in our nation to the Black community for 400 years. We mourn the racial injustice that happens now. We grieve the ways that the pulpit of the American church has – at many times – contributed to this inequality or remained silent when it should have spoken. These are some of our corporate laments we have made as a community these past weeks.

link to FCC Lament Service – June 5th, 2020
link to FCC Facebook status by Mike – May 27th, 2020 
link to lament prayer by Pastor Ben – May 31st – 2020
link to newsletter by Pastor Mark – June 4th, 2020

We are listening

This summer, our entire staff will be engaging with a resource that many of our staff have been working through already. The book we will be reading together is called Be the Bridge. LINK TO THE BOOK 
During this time of great unrest, the pastors are reaching out to Black men and women in our congregation to hear their stories. We want to understand as much as we can of the systemic and continued challenges they have faced because of the color of their skin in our country. If you have any thoughts or stories to contribute, please reach out to one of the pastors. We would love to hear and understand more. care@fellowshipsj.org
We are in conversation with 3 African American pastors of local congregations to learn of ways that we as a church can support, love and lead into the future. It is clear that the suffering of the Black community is not new. Change will happen in moments like this one. But, we are also hearing the desperate need of systemic change led by the church of Christ. This will take much time, listening and continued action.

We are trusting in a God that moves us to racial reconciliation in compassion and action

4 months ago, there was a group of staff appointed to gather and discuss our church and how we as a community can be more conscious and intentional about racial reconciliation in our church. This group will meet into the future and inform the larger staff and leadership with ideas and resources.
In October of 2019 we hired Tanya Wright as a part time Prayer and Restoration Coordinator here at FCC. One of the roles that she has been given is the prayerful task of racial reconciliation. Her background, education and deep connection to the hispanic and Black communities have been so helpful already in informing us as a church of our own ignorance and neglect.

As pastors and staff we have much to learn. We are not a very diverse group of leaders and realize that that plays a role in our ignorance. We love the diversity in our church, but we also do not want to assume that because we love it, there is not so much more of an intentional role to play in racial reconciliation in our own faith family. Please join with us as we humbly seek the heart of our God who loves with deep compassion (Matthew 14:14) and intentional action (Joshua 7:14). We desire the full gospel of Jesus Christ to transcend and lead us as a people. We believe these steps are not the totality of what he is calling us to do, but the current steps where he is leading (Galatians 5:25-26). May the God of all reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19) and justice (Hosea 12:6) lead us into a beautiful new ways (Revelation 21:5) of hope in Christ (1 John 5:13-14).