We, the members of the Cumberland Area Interfaith Ministerial Association (CAIMA), are deeply grieved by the pain and suffering of our nation and world brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

And now, in the midst of this tumult and chaos, we are forced to face the violence in us and in our communities, especially against some of God’s children simply because of the color of their skin.

Racism is not new, but at times like these, it becomes clear that it still exists throughout our society and that we are all hurting because of it.

How will we ever change if we run from this problem that is within us?  How will we ever change if all we do is blame others and refuse to listen and learn about how we are all part of a system of racism that we are barely able to see?

Don’t these recent events reveal the racism in our communities, not just in some of our police?  When we say of any group, “They are the bad ones,” don’t we further the divisions and isolate ourselves from each other and the problems we must face? 

We pray that we might come together to seek healing.  But this healing comes only when we are willing to listen to the pain of our sisters and brothers of color. We must listen to the pain, as difficult as that is, and seek to change.  Physical pain tells us when our bodies are broken or filled with cancer.  It is the same in society.  When we do not listen carefully and respectfully, the cancer in our society spreads and finally destroys us.

CAIMA comes together as people of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds to do what we can to overcome divisions and hatred, seeking healing and love.  We come, not with all the answers, but willing to listen and learn.

We come together to say that racism, hatred and violence are wrong everywhere they exist. We also denounce the looting and destruction of property being carried out by those who do not represent what this movement stands for.

We come together to ask forgiveness for hurting each other.  We come together to seek healing, dignity and respect for all in our human family.  

Pastor Jim Buchanan, Rev. Gene Gall, Dr. Riaz Janjua, the Rev. Martha N. Macgill, Deacon Lydia Martin, Rabbi Mark J. Perman, the Rev. Chuck Shelquist, the Rev. Dr. Marsha Spain Bell, Pastor Daniel Swanson, the Rev. Rebecca Vardiman, Bishop Kenny and Pastor Shannon Watkins and the Rev. Dr. James R.M. Young

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