Dear JHDC Family & Friends,

This past week has been extremely difficult for me; it’s been quite painful to process the recent events that have led to the various riots across the nation and the world at large. It’s also been difficult to find the right words to say to express the pain we all feel. Nevertheless, silence is no better…

The death of George Floyd is heartbreaking and deeply troubling. I have reflected on the circumstances that led to his death and it is completely appalling. This deplorable act which has led to several protests across the nation and around the globe is a demonstration that such acts of inequality and brutality are completely unacceptable.

As a church we have already begun to address this atrocious act of injustice; we have been praying throughout this week during our corporate live prayers calling on the Lord to heal our land. We are praying for God’s divine intervention in this situation, as well as for Him to intervene in many such acts of injustice that seem to prevail in our nation. We know that ultimately God alone can heal our land.

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I particularly want to express my deep sympathy for the family of George Floyd. He didn’t have to die this way. We have them in our hearts at this time, and we pray for them, that God will comfort them and everyone else who is grieving at this time. The voices of the protesters and all who have been speaking out during this time has demonstrated that Floyd’s death and that of other similar victims has not, and will not be in vain.

To our Church family and community at large, I know that a lot of us are hurting at this time, but we want you to be encouraged. We can all play an active part in addressing situations like this by staying informed as well as speaking up against these kinds of acts. We can lend your voice, sign petitions, participate in peaceful protests, vote, donate, educate ourselves and mostly (as I mentioned earlier) we must remain prayerful, and ask God for wisdom and direction at this time.

As a community of faith, as well as being people of color we condemn these wicked acts, as we know they run contrary to the very core of our faith which teaches us to love one another, and to value the sanctity of human life. Racism and inequality is a sin, it goes against what the scripture teaches us. All people from every race or nation are individuals who have been created by God, and therefore everyone deserves to be loved, respected and valued. Just as our nation’s ‘Declaration of Independence’ states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

It is time for our nation to live true to this statement; the protests going on across the nation is a demonstration that the good citizens of this great nation will not remain silent while evil prevails. Just like the scripture says in Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.” As a Church we will not stay silent while evil prevails. I want to encourage everyone, particularly parents of young people to continue to engage in conversations with your children at this time to talk through what they may be feeling. It is hard for us all, but God is still in control.

God bless you all!

Pastor Ghandi Olaoye