Congresswoman Praises New York Church for Putting Gospel Into Action
The Brooklyn church seeks to help heal a community divided by racially tinged unrest.
Posted January 23, 2015
BY DEBRA MCKINNEY BANKS, Atlantic Union Conference, and ANN and
ADVENTIST REVIEW STAFF
An Adventist church has sought to bring healing to a New York community divided by racially tinged unrest by organizing a forum that a U.S. congresswoman praised as an understanding of the gospel that “can transform life in real-time.”
Tensions flared in New York after a white police officer put a black suspect, Eric Garner, in a chokehold in July, and Garner died at the scene. A gran
d jury subsequently refused to indict the officer.
On Dec. 20, two police officers were shot dead by a man claiming retaliation for Garner’s death.
Both incidences sparked protests, rallies, and extensive national media coverage.
In response, the Flatbush Adventist Church in Brooklyn gathered politicians, police officers, civil rights activists, and an overwhelmingly young crowd to engage in prayer and a round-table discussion about the tensions permeating the city.
“We still mourn the loss of Eric Garner. We still mourn the loss of [officers Wenjian] Liu and [Rafael] Ramos,” Daniel Honoré, president of the Adventist Church’s Northeastern Conference, told the gathering. “Society, however, has presented us with a false choice. It has told us, ‘Either you support community rights, or you support the police.’ Today I want to categorically reject that choice.”
“As a faith community, we cannot sit in idleness, twiddling our thumbs in despair. We are a people of hope, not despair,” said G. Earl Knight, president of the Greater New York Conference. “We believe that God can heal the brokenhearted. He can heal our broken relationships.”
U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke, of New York’s 9th Congressional District, commended the Adventist leaders for coordinating the “timely gathering for dialogue and discussion.”
“You have decided that church takes place seven days a week,” she said. “From that understanding of the gospel, we can transform life in real-time, not only in the spiritual realm, but indeed we can make a change in the secular realm.”