First Congregational Church is a historically, and predominantly white congregation in Eugene, Oregon, a location with a history of abhorrent racial oppression, and whose church building sits on land stolen from the homeland of the Kalapuya people. It is our moral imperative that we listen, learn, and act to help bend the arc of justice toward God’s Vision of love, wholeness, peace, and justice for all of God’s children. As an expression of our faith, we stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free,
there is neither male nor female;
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:28
Our church community will not be silent.
Our Mission Towards Racial Justice
We walk together in the radical path of Jesus, to create a racially equitable, anti-racist, multicultural spiritual community within and beyond our walls. To that end, we are actively engaged and committed to opposing, dismantling, and replacing the racial inequities inherent within our policies, practices, and institutional norms.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”Martin Luther King, Jr.
Our Action Steps
As members, friends, lay leaders, ministerial and church staff we are committed to:
1. Educate ourselves individually and in community about prejudice awareness; atonement; white fragility; white privilege; white supremacy; white power; color-blind racism; systemic racism; bigotry; anti-racism; multicultural organizations; and the historical and contemporary impacts of racism on our church, local and global society, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We covenant with other community groups to build bridges of relationships to support each other. We want to learn, listen, and see reality, as it is key to understanding our own and other’s culture and environment.
2. Critically examine our own complicity, exclusionary beliefs, actions, and behaviors as individuals and as a faith community in perpetuating practices of systemic racism, social injustice, and violence in our church and wider community.
3. Engage in organizational and individual training required to become an anti-racist, prejudice aware, socially-just, multicultural church community that can engage directly in the work of dismantling systemic racism. This is work in which everyone has a role. We create space and opportunities for children, young adults, and adults to engage in conversations and action as we collectively work to eradicate racial harm and become a fully inclusive, anti-racist church community.
4. Organize and commit our time and talent alongside the Central Pacific Conference and the National Offices of the United Church of Christ to help dismantle and disrupt systems of oppression and racism through faith inspired activism and advocacy where we walk alongside and support organizations who are already leaders in anti-racism and racial justice work.
5. Develop language that enables the people of First Congregational Church to provide respectful feedback when they observe racist behaviors or hear racist comments.
6. We will change our board and church policies, practices, and institutional norms to become a more intentional and fully transparently anti-racist organization.
7. Publicize important racial justice focused events as they become known to us.
8. Worship together in ways that support an inclusive, anti-racist, socially-just, multicultural world that honors the humanity and worth of all people no matter their religion and faith practices. We strive to integrate into our worship practices culture-centered biblical teachings and representative theologies that focus on resistance, inclusion, identities, and justice from the pulpit and pews.