A Pastoral Response to Violence in Charlottesville
The following letter was written by the clergy team of Foundry United Methodist Church in response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 11-12, 2017. In response to a growing call from the congregation, we invite you to add your names alongside our clergy so that your voices may be heard. Copies of this letter, along with the signatures of those who sign on, will be sent to leaders in the Executive and Legislative branches of our government:


Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:7-8

Just over a year ago, Foundry issued a pastoral letter in response to a week filled with tragedy fueled by the “erosion of trust and deep racial divide in our country.” We write again today in grief born out of that same erosion of trust and deep racial divide.

We mourn the injury and loss of life that has occurred in the wake of the so-called “Alt-Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the past two days.

We grieve for the ongoing emotional and spiritual damage done to siblings who are targeted by the Ku Klux Klan and other racist groups. We grieve the conversations black parents are forced to have with their children because of the realities of racism in our country. We encourage white parents to talk with their children about those realities and to help them see their own privilege.

We speak in outrage, unwilling to sit idly by and allow white supremacist, anti-semitic violence and hatred to go unnamed in this sacred hall.

We proclaim that such violence and hatred is sin. The message espoused by the alt-right, Klan, neo-Nazi, and other racist terrorist groups is anathema to the Gospel. It is offensive to God, and has no place in the hearts of those who claim Christ as Lord. To proudly parade prejudice is below the dignity of human kind, for we are created to bear not only the image of a loving God but also to bear the cross for one another.

We stand with the students and the clergy, the citizens and city leaders in Charlottesville who have spoken and acted with moral courage and in sacred resistance. We join with people of good will and conscience across this land who continue to call on our leaders at every level of church and state to speak boldly and act decisively against acts of racist terrorism. This is not the time to equivocate. It is time to tell the truth. It is time to allow the better angels of our nature to show their strength and set the hounds of hell back on their heels.

As we wrote one year ago, we proclaim that in the face of tragedy and injustice, we as Christian community look to the crucified and risen Lord. Jesus the Christ reveals that the love of God is stronger than all the raging, destructive powers of this world. Because of God’s love, we can hope. Because of God’s love, we can live. Because of God’s love, we can continue to believe in and work for that day when all God’s children will dwell in safety.

Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli
Rev. Dawn Hand
Rev. Al Hammer
Rev. Will Green
Rev. Ben Roberts

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