August 22, 2017

Greetings in the Lord. Shortly after the 8:30 am worship service on Sunday, August 20, a parishioner shared with me a post from Facebook. The post included a photograph showing that the rear wall of the Community Bowling Center, owned and operated by the Love House Ministries, a pre-dominantly African-American congregation, had been defaced with inappropriate graffiti in support of the KKK in addition to a racial slur. In light of the recent demonstration in Charlottesville, VA in support of white supremacists, the KKK, and Neo-Nazi’s, I was surprised and saddened to see something like this in our own backyard.

During the 10:30 am worship service, we were reminded that the church must always “stand against, speak against, and work against” every form of bigotry and prejudice that brings harm to our neighbor. Like the story of Joseph recorded in the book of Genesis, this is a time that calls for God’s work of justice and peace, and with God’s help, this will also be a time for healing.
Mid-afternoon Sunday, Kay accompanied me to the Bowling Center. We parked our vehicle in the side parking lot. Initially, we could not detect any disfiguration or graffiti until we walked to the rear of the building. It was there we could see where the graffiti had been painted over. Since that point in time, we have learned that our Mayor, City Manager and firefighters from the Fire Station next door facilitated a quick and rapid makeover on Saturday morning.

To be honest, I am somewhat dismayed by the lack of press coverage by the Beaufort Gazette. In an age where different forms of media share “Breaking News,” the Gazette has only in the last twenty four hours posted a small article on their website about the Community Bowling Center incident. It makes me wonder how our African-American neighbors feel about the lack of reporting. Do we as a community simply overlook an act like this that espouses such clear-cut racism?

Presbyterians are guided by a number of confessional statements that give exposition to what the Scripture tells us about “life and faith.” In one such confession, the Confession of 1967, born out of a period of struggle in the United States, we read the following, “God has created the peoples of the earth to be one universal family. In his reconciling love, God overcomes the barriers between people and breaks down every form of discrimination based on racial or ethnic difference, real or imaginary. Therefore, the church labors for the abolition of all racial discrimination and ministers to those injured by it. God’s reconciliation in Jesus Christ is the ground for peace, justice and freedom.”

In closing, having lived through the turbulent time of the 60’s and having studied this confession in seminary, I find it interesting that the theology of the confession remains very much alive and meaningful for those of us living in the second decade of the 21st century. Jesus Christ is Lord and we, the church, labor on.

Peace and Grace,
Steve Keeler +