Grace Bible Church

Brian Fisher, senior pastor of Grace Bible Church, is one of the original authors of the statement.

Senior pastors from 72 churches in the Bryan-College Station area joined together this weekend to sign a joint statement denouncing racism, racial injustice and law enforcement officers’ misuse of authority.

Some of the signing pastors gathered at the Bryan County Municipal Building at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 15, to read from the Bible about destroying the barriers of race, proclaim their statement and pray for unity in Bryan-College Station.

Sylvester Smith, Ph.D., Senior Pastor of New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, organized Monday’s event and said all pastors left with the commitment to unify their churches and communities.

“I witnessed for the first time here in our county that God brought us together and no one was concerned about their titles, their church affiliation, their status, and they said by their presence we will not allow anything to divide us because God is bigger than us,” Smith said. “I believe the gathering of those individuals speaks for what they believe needs to take place here and across our nations.”

The statement opens with 1 Corinthians 12:26, “If one member suffers, all suffer together…,” followed by a paragraph grieving the death of George Floyd, the history of racism in America, the Church’s prior inaction and police abuse of authority.

“We grieve the long history of prejudice and racism experienced by people of color in our nation,” the statement reads. “We grieve that the Church has not done more to heal the divisions in the name of Christ. We grieve that the misuse of authority by some law enforcement officers brings both unnecessary harm on the people they are called to protect and overshadows the brave and sacrificial work of many other officers who uphold justice with dignity and integrity.”

The statement goes on to denounce racism and racial injustice, citing nine Bible verses that instruct Christians to stand up for truth and justice and protect those in need.

“Racism is evil and is an affront to our Creator who made each of us — from every ethnic background, female and male, young and old, rich and poor, weak and strong — in His image,” the statement reads. “Because we are all equal in the eyes of our Creator...we are committed to treat one another with dignity and speak up and protect the vulnerable among us provide for the needy among live righteous stand for truth and love and to forgive.”

The original statement was drafted by three local pastors, including Smith and Grace Bible Church senior pastor Brian Fisher. Fisher said they distributed the document to the established local church network and it spread from there, with churches from outside of Bryan-College Station requesting to sign the statement as well.

“Speaking with one voice is both powerful and necessary,” Fisher said. “Our goal was not to make a political statement. One of our concerns was that a moral issue — racism — had become a political issue. We wanted to speak with one voice in addressing racism as a moral evil and an affront to the Creator who made every man and woman from every race in His image.”

Fisher said within each church, pastors are encouraging people to think about those from different backgrounds, make connections with them, ask them about their experiences and “demonstrate the love of Christ for marginalized people and people with fewer material resources than ourselves.”

“Racism is universal,” Fisher said. “It exists in every community, in every state, in every nation, and to some degree within every human heart. We are encouraging our people to build deep relationships with people who are different from themselves. Such relationships expand our understanding and our empathy.”

While racism cannot be eliminated by a single statement, Smith said he hopes this is the first step to building unity in Bryan-College Station and beyond.

“I believe this is what God called us to do because we are all God's children created in the image of Him and by Him,” Smith said. “It's still burning in my heart to continue to tear those walls that divide us on Sunday morning and when we see ourselves worshipping and fellowshipping together I believe we will get to know one another.”

Below is a list of all of the pastors who are signatories on the statement:

Troy Allen, Senior Pastor, First Baptist College Station

Craig Anderson, Pastor, Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Bryan

Greg Anderson, Lead Minister, A&M Church of Christ

Calvin Arnold, Pastor, The Fellowship (Galilee/TCAC, et. al)

Timothy Ateek, Executive Director, Breakaway Ministries

Rev. Emily Beghin, First Presbyterian Church of Bryan

Phillip Bethancourt, Senior Pastor, Central Church

Jacob Biswell, Pastor, New World Worship Center

Sherdonna Bragg, Pastor, New Heights Church

Jonathan Brooks, Pastor, Restoration Church Bryan

Ramiro Castillo, Senior pastor, Southern Oaks Baptist Church

Blake Chilton, Pastor, Declaration Church

Rev. A.C. Clark III, Pastor, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

Chad Clark, Founder, One Hope Movement

Wade Coleman, Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church

John Collier, Pastor, New Beginnings Bryan

Rev. Eleanor L. Colvin, Pastor, First UMC College Station

Melvin O. Cooper, Pastor, St. Matthew Baptist Church

Rev. Greg Crosthwait, Church of the Incarnation

Rev. Dr. Dan DeLeon, Senior Pastor, Friends Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

Jason DeVerna, Pastor, Connecting Point Church

Rev Christian & Anita Dorsey, Pastors, The Gathering Church

Steve Doyle, Director of Missions, Creath-Brazos Baptist Association

Allen Duty, Preaching Pastor, New Life Baptist Church

Eric Evje, Lead Pastor, Living Hope Bryan

Brian Fisher, Senior Pastor, Grace Bible Church

Ted Foote, Jr., Pastor, First Presbyterian Church - Bryan

Paul Fowler, Pastor, Life/Church BCS

Rev. Elaine Gomulka, Pastor, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church

Danny Green, Pastor, Skybreak Church

Preston Greenwaldt, Senior Pastor, A&M United Methodist Church

Bishop Maurice Green, Pastor, Lily of the Valley Church of God in Christ

Rev. Ben Hailey, Lead Teaching Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, College Station

Katy Haislet, Pastor, A&M United Methodist Church

Tyler Hardy, Pastor, Antioch Community Church

Daryl Hay, Rector, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

Jim Heiligman, Pastor, First Baptist Bryan

Anthony Hill, Pastor, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church

Rev. Sam Hill, Pastor, North Bryan New Birth Baptist Church

Jason Horine, Pastor, Wellborn Baptist Church

Jerry House, Lead Pastor, Christ United Methodist Church

John Hubbard, Pastor, Mt. Olive Baptist Church

Charles Jefferson, Pastor, Peaceful Rest Baptist Church

Blake Jennings, Teaching Pastor, Grace Bible Church Southwood

Loren Johnson, Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church

Dr. C. L. King, Pastor, Mt. Nebo Baptist Church

Cristobal Ledezma, Pastor, Casa De Dios Ministries, Bryan

Will Lewis, Senior Pastor, Brazos Fellowship

Pastor Hong I Lim, Pastor, Vision Mission Church

Chris Liotta, Lead Pastor, Rivergate Church

Dan Marshall, Pastor, Faith Bible Church

Obed Matus, Pastor, Verdades Biblicas

Elder George Moore Jr, Pastor, Savior Temple COGIC

Matt Morton, Teaching Pastor, Grace Bible Church Creekside

David Murphy, Staff Chaplain, Baylor Scott & White Hospital, College Station

Rev. Caressa Murray and Rev. Jonathan Murray, Co-Pastors, Covenant Presbyterian Church, College Station

Marie Nutall, Pastor, New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church

Mario, Parga, Pastor, Aldersgate

Sándor Paull, Pastor, Christland Church

Alan Pittman, Living Hope Baptist Church, CS

JJ Ramirez, Director, SOS Ministries

David Reynolds, Pastor, Engage Calvary

Ron Rich, Associate Director of Missions, Creath Brazos Association

Ben Rush, Pastor, Citizens Church

Eddie Sahakian, Pastor, Redeemed Church

Rev. Rick Sitton, First United Methodist Church

Dr. Sylvester Smith, Jr., Pastor, New Zion Missionary Baptist Church

Scot Stolz, Pastor, Community Church

Clyde Strong, Pastor, Bethel Baptist Church

Jennifer Webber, Pastor, First United Methodist Church

Jerry Wirtley, Pastor, Treehouse Ministries

Craig Yates, Pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church

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