Pastor Stephen Responds to Violence Against AAPI

Mar 23, 2021

Church,

Highrock owes its very existence to the mission work of Korean Americans who longed to make a church space that would be beautiful and welcoming to people of all different backgrounds. They were willing to step out of their safe ethnic space and create a new space where their non-Asian friends and people they had never met could come in and feel the radical inclusion of the Church of Christ. Today, we are their legacy.

Their vision is an image of what the church should be, a place of radical welcome. Sadly, we know that America has not always been the place of radical welcome for our Asian brothers and sisters. To the contrary, many of the first Asian immigrants who came to help build the amazing railroads in this country were repaid not with INclusion, but EXclusion in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Sadly, we feel the sting of that heritage still today. Last week, some of our own Asian American brothers and sisters gathered together to share their stories of challenges and pain in this country. But even as they opened up about their pain, 8 people were killed in a mass shooting in Georgia, six of them were Asian women.

These killings are evil, and yes race is very much a part of it. The pain of this violence, and the recent rise in violence against Asian Americans touches our Asian brothers and sisters in different ways. I send this message, because if ANY of our brothers or sisters are hurting, we all share in that pain. That's what it means to be part of a body together.

So to those of you brothers and sisters who are hurting, I want you to know that I hurt with you. I am crying with you, I am carrying your pain with you. When I see you hurt, I hurt too. When I hear your stories of hateful treatment and unwelcoming, I weep with you. I don't want you to feel alone, so please don't hesitate to talk to me as your friend and pastor about this. I am white yes, and sometimes I can be thick and slow to the experience of those whose experience has been so different from mine, but please know that I want to extend the same welcome to you that my Korean and Chinese mentors have extended to me. The same welcome that so many Asian brothers and sisters have extended to each of us. And God willing, we all might extend the same kind of radical welcome that Christ extends to everyone.

Pastor Stephen