Task Force on Race and Welcome

From its founding in 1837, Second Presbyterian Church has been at the spiritual heart of the City of Indianapolis. Our call as Christ’s body has always been tied to the welfare and flourishing of all who live in our city. We bear the mantle of our founding members who were deeply committed to the cause of abolition. However, as Christians we recognize that good intentions don’t always lead to just decisions, and as St Paul knew well, there are “powers” and “principalities” that must be confronted by Christians (cf. Eph 6:12). As a congregation, we have seen the ways that racism has powerfully afflicted our community and city. We have sensed the call of God’s Spirit to re-examine our own personal histories, as well as our congregation’s history. We have been moved to examine the expanse of our welcome and to acknowledge the places where we were complicit – whether consciously or unconsciously – in the maintenance of injustice.

In 2020, the Session of Second Presbyterian Church approved the creation of a Task Force on Race and Welcome with the goal of leading our congregation through a period of self-reflection. The work of this Task Force has three phases:

  1. to be educated about race from a historical and theologically-mature perspective,
  2. to liaise with staff members about how we can make our ministries more expansive, and
  3. to work with the Senior Pastor to set long-term goals for meaningful change.

We believe that problems of this nature are not solved in days and weeks but months and years. We are invested in this work. We hope to hear the stories of and learn from those who have felt unwelcome, to recognize efforts that have already made our ministry more expansive, and to challenge ourselves to set ambitious goals for the future of our lives together. As Christians, we trust God’s grace and know that our shortcomings cannot hinder us from God’s love in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:38-9). However, we also know that God’s grace demands the best of us. Second Presbyterian Church is a community of faith where Jesus Christ transforms lives – and sometimes the lives transformed can be our own.

For more information, please feel free to contact Elder Shadreck Kamwendo.

Task Force Members:

  • Jill Chappell
  • Jamey Everett
  • Nancy Frick
  • Shadreck Kamwendo
  • Alan Kimbell
  • Gina Nichols
  • Chris Palmer
  • Mark Pardue
  • Sarah Parks
  • Sylvia Perteete
  • Anne Shane