On Repeat

The other day I was upstairs digging through Columbus Mennonite’s archives, which I found to be delightfully fascinating and full of history that I have never heard.  (Sometime I’d love to hear more about “Paul’s Porch” from someone.)  I hope we can do some work in the next couple years to tell more of these stories, especially as so many new people join the congregation. 

In my digging, however, there was one document that caught my attention and felt like it was speaking across history into our present moment.  It is a single sheet of paper with the words “Resolutions passed by Central District Conference on April 25, 1964” written across the top.  I think this was included in our archives because the first resolution listed seems to be affirming CMC’s dual-membership in Central District Conference and Eastern Mennonite Conference. 

Three of the other five resolutions caught my attention because they are attempts at speaking to the racial realities of 1964.  Here is the full text of the third resolution:

“As individuals and churches we confess that we have been lax in getting involved in the Civil Rights movement.  We recommend that our local congregations study ways and means of supporting the desire of all peoples for equal job and housing opportunities, and Church affiliation regardless of their race, class or ethnic background.  That we as congregations be willing to suffer the cost of obedience to God’s will in these areas, and support those congregations where this problem is most acute.” 

In 1964, after much work had already been done for Civil Rights, congregations in Central District declared and confessed that they had been lax in getting involved.  Let us not make this mistake again.  Let us continue to take up this work of justice with a willingness to “suffer the cost of obedience.”  Let us not allow our history of racial oppression and White complacency to loop endlessly on repeat.