Loveland Faith Leader Letter Responding to the Murder of George Floyd

Signed by 31 Loveland Faith Leaders

Published in the Reporter Herald on Friday, June 19

June 10, 2020

To Our Beloved Loveland Community,

We write to you as faith leaders representing a diversity of Christian denominations here in Loveland. We find ourselves moved by love to respond to the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. While many of us strive to keep politics out of our congregations, we believe that this is not a political concern but a Christian concern and a human concern. We feel convicted by Christ’s call to love our neighbors as ourselves, and in this moment, we want to invite each of you to a place of love.

At difficult times that threaten division and tear at the fabric of our community, we feel it essential to call our community together – to promote unity and not division. We write to support those in our community who have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We write to support and thank Chief Ticer for his call to relationship between police officers and the broader community, and for accountability within our police department. We write to support all in our community who are of minority status, and those among us who find themselves living in fear of authority simply because of the color of their skin.

As faith leaders we feel a need to confess our own complicity in systemic racism and racial bias. We confess that we have not done enough to engage in the difficult work of investigating our personal bias or leading our faith communities in doing this work. We confess that in a community that is largely of European American descent, we have all too often remained unaware of our own white privilege. While we give thanks that our nation has made some progress in eliminating certain barriers, we do not need to look far to see that systemic racism still exists. Statistics have shown many disparities between opportunities for white people and people of color, but specific to this time, people of minority backgrounds suffer more from COVID-19 than people of European descent. 

This is not a call to feel guilty.  Guilt only leads people to defensiveness or covering up real problems to make ourselves feel better.  Instead, this is a call to focus beyond ourselves toward others, especially those of minority communities, with love and compassion.  We hope and pray that in light of everything happening around us, we may all work to recognize and confess the reality of systemic racism in our own community and our nation. We hope and pray that we may work together to dismantle systems that harm some more than others. As fear festers around us, as hatred and deep divisions are seen ever more clearly, may we stand together as a light upon the hill – a light shining love, compassion, forgiveness, hope and justice for all of God’s beloved children.

In hope and love,

Deb Abbott, Pastor, King of Glory Lutheran Church
Father Stephen Adams, Pastor, St. John the Evangelist Parish

Tom Albrecht, Pastor, Christ Church of the Rockies

Matt Brown, Pastor, Redemption Church

Kathy Bullard, Retired United Methodist Pastor

Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson, Pastor, First Congregational Church, UCC

Chris Davis, Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church

Jeff Dillon, Pastor, Redemption Church

Rev. Robert Dooling, Emeritus Pastor, Mountain View Presbyterian Church

The Rev. Cynthia Espeseth, Rector, All Saints Episcopal Church

Micheal L. Goetz, Pastor, Campion Seventh-day Adventist Church

The Rev. Steve Goodier, First United Methodist Church

Rev. Kristi Hornick, First United Methodist Church

Father Edward Kironde Nalwamba, St. Peter's Anglican Church

Rev. Gary LeTourneau, Pastor, Mountain View Presbyterian Church

Rev. Bryson Lillie, Pastor, Trinity United Methodist Church

Ruth Ann Loughry, Pastor, King of Glory Lutheran Church

Rev. Vernon Maelzer, First United Methodist Church, Retired

Amy Morgan, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church

Jim Murphy, Faith Evangelical Church

Lloyd Nichols, Church at Loveland

Elliott Pancoast, Retired Lutheran (ELCA) Pastor & Loveland Police Chaplains

Joel Pancoast, Pastor, Zion Lutheran Church & Loveland Police Chaplains

Sonja Pancoast, Pastor, Zion Lutheran Church

Bishop Gerald Schnackenberg, Epiphany Anglican Fellowship, (Longmont)

Scott Slayback, Pastor, LifeSpring Covenant Church

Marissa and Marshall Smith, Pastors, Loveland Vineyard Community Church

Jennie Votaw, Loveland Police Chaplains

Rev. Jim Webb, Pastor, Mountain View Presbyterian Church

Amy and Jonathan Wiggins, Pastors