It is with deep concern in the aftermath of the events of January 6, 2021, that the pastoral staff of the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York joins our voice with other people of faith condemning the violence which happened at the seat of our nation’s capital.
As Congress was in session in the process of certifying the presidential election, crowds which had been enticed to show up and exert pressure on lawmakers broke through barriers and overwhelmed police. Capitol windows were broken, offices vandalized, civil spaces desecrated all by rioters storming the building. The violence resulted in a threat to Congress during constitutionally prescribed democratic proceedings, an armed standoff at the entrance of the Senate chamber and the tragic and unnecessary loss of precious life.
Throughout our long history, First Church has responded to condemn violence in the many forms it has taken, especially this year. And we will continue to do so. We are called to stand in the face of oppression and be a witness for the grace, love and justice of Jesus Christ.
We unequivocally condemn yesterday’s violence. We condemn the actions of those who allowed themselves to be led by anger and fear fueled by lies and conspiracy theories. We denounce leadership which creates divisions and hatred.
We affirm our calling as God’s children to peace, justice, and the building of God’s Kingdom. We affirm our calling to live lives that respect the voice of all people, especially those long silenced. We affirm our calling to stand with those who work for justice, equity and equality.
We pray first for the family of the woman who lost her life last night. We pray for our divided nation. We pray for those who are so hurt and afraid that they would resort to this kind of violence. We stand with and pray for those who work tirelessly for justice and peace. We pray for those who speak truth to power. We pray for the day when people with competing ideals will sit together in harmony at the table of fellowship. We pray for the new heaven and new earth promised in God’s word.
We pray these things, in the strong name of Jesus the Christ. By God’s grace, may this be so.
The Pastoral Staff of First Church