In this difficult time when we cannot gather together physically, it is particularly stressful to confront the ongoing racial turmoil in our country. Because we cannot process our grief and trauma in our traditional ways, the Staff of Silver Lake feels it is important to reach out to all of you to let you know that we stand with you.
The first part of this letter is addressed to our families of color:
We see you. We have seen how hard this week, and longer, has been for the Black American community and other people of color, and we are aching as we watch injustice after injustice unfold. The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many other Black citizens make us weep.
Please know that your Silver Lake family is holding you in prayer. We have worked hard to address issues of systemic and institutional racism at Silver Lake and in the wider UCC body, and we know that we can do more. You are an important part of the body of Christ; without you, we are not whole. We pledge to listen to you and to look deeply at ourselves, both personally and as an organization, as it is important to us that Silver Lake is a safe space for you and your camper.
To our white families:
We are sure that you are weeping with us as you see the continuing harm done to our Black siblings by our governmental and social institutions. We often feel helpless to do anything that will make any sort of an impact.
The most important thing you can do, as a parent and a Christian, is to talk to your children about race. These conversations are hard; we have been trained not to talk about race. But this is the work you are called to do in this time.
The Southern New England Conference has put together a comprehensive page of resources for families. Please take a few minutes to look through it. If you are new to this work, start with this blog post from We Stories: Where To Start: 12 Small Steps for White Families Who Want To Be a Positive Force for Change on Racism.
You will probably make mistakes; we do, too. That’s okay. We learn best from our mistakes, as long as we are open to hearing how we can do better. The most important thing is that you do not stay silent, that you join the conversation.
Silver Lake Conference Center is deeply committed to addressing issues of racial injustice through our programs. We will continue to offer resources, both on our webpage and through our Silver Lake At Home program. Look for more information during Week 2: Love Your Neighbor.
As Christians, we must come together to ensure that all of God's children are treated with dignity and respect, with equal access to resources, throughout the United States.
What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
Rev. Ryan Gackenheimer, Executive Director
Jennifer Kronholm Clark, Program Director
Stephanie Pitman, Business Manager
Rev. Lynn Boettger, Food Services Manager
Ruth Choate, Administrator/Registrar