Greetings to my Pilgrim Baptist Church Family,
Another week in the land of Covid-19, with 669 newly reported cases and 7 newly reported deaths and numbers that are not leveling off, nor decreasing but numbers that continue to increase. When will the numbers ease up … when we learn to wear masks, stay six feet apart from people and wash our hands frequently. These are the things under our control that we can do to stay healthy. Please do your part.
I am glad to say that Covid-19 has not struck Pilgrim severely, however, there is a more violent dilemma that our community faces today … Black on Black shooting and murder. I need to take a moment to prick your hearts and minds regarding this dilemma. This issue is not beyond our control, nor beyond our ability because many of those doing the shooting or persons being shot and / or killed are our family members. What is happening now is not only destroying our families but also the validity and necessary urgency for systemic change in policy, legislation, and social / community as well as economic practice in this nation when it comes to White Supremacy, African Americans and indigenous people. What is really tragic, is that the only ones that are shooting themselves in exorbitant numbers are African Americans and with that I must ask us a question, “Do Black Lives really matter? Or must they matter to everyone else and not ourselves?” If Black Lives really matter, they must mater to Black people (African Americans) most, we must model the behavior we want others to follow. We must set the standard as to how we want to be treated by others. If we don’t the argument can quickly be made that “if African Americans don’t care about their own lives why should we?” Why is this important? Here we are in the middle of the year, in 2019 there were 164 Blacks shot, this year there have been 110 shot with 19 dead.
We’re on pace for 190 shot in 2020 … 147% increase in weapons discharged in 2020. What pains me is that this behavior is not the behavior of strangers, but our church neighbors. Neighbors that are shooting each other who are often family members themselves. So, I urge you Pilgrim, as the Elders of your families, as the Senior Statesperson of your clan, work hard at bringing resolution to family struggles in-person and on social media. Work hard at resolving them without the use of guns. Because once a gun is drawn two families will be changed forever because one member is going to the hospital or the morgue, the other family member will be going to jail while the family network will be torn to shreds who did little to provide an alternative way of resolving the tension without the use of guns.
Below you will find links to best keep you and your family safe by creating plans in the event that parent or caregiver is unable to do so at any given time. The information provided by these links are at no cost to you. The information is not only beneficial during the Covid-19 crisis but for all of life situations as well. Please review them and plan for the safety and security for your family.
Additional Testing Sites and Resource Information:
Pilgrim, though we are not gathering in the Sanctuary it does not mean that we have ceased being the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know we miss one another, I know I miss you all, however, let us take this time and demonstrate to the Lord, as well as our family and neighbors that we care about other people. People are hurting, people are stressed, and depressed, reach out and encourage someone today. Reach out and let someone know you care about them, and if opportunity presents itself, pray with them. These are hard times for everyone, they’re even harder for those who may not have a firm relationship with your Savior Jesus Christ. Remember the words found in St. John 13:35 (NIV) “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Pilgrim, let’s be the church where the walk of faith transforms lives.
God’s Best to you always,
Charles L. Gill