Apology

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Due to the heightened racial tension in the US a question has come up “Is GCI considering additional plans/actions for multi-racial outreach and inclusion?” It is without a doubt a matter that deserves proper attention, and in fact, it is not an issue that has been ignored. Please allow me to explain.

Historically, the roots of Grace Communion International come from the Worldwide Church of God. Racial bias in the WCG was primarily based on Herbert Armstrong’s misguided doctrine of British-Israelism that kept non-Israelite peoples (Gentiles—which included all people of color) as second class and therefore inferior.

This heretical and false teaching created division and mistreatment of people of color. Noticeable limitations were placed on Black members and leaders and many suffered from racial slurs and prejudice that were simply wrong.

Under the leadership of Joseph Tkach Sr. and his son Joseph Tkach Jr. there was major doctrinal reform leading to a greater understanding of the New Testament teaching that there is neither Jew nor Gentile, but we are all one in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:28).

The Tkaches commissioned and sanctioned Pastor Curtis May and Greg Albrecht to oversee the Office of Reconciliation Ministries. These men, along with other key pastors, worked tirelessly traveling the country and holding weekend conferences that did much good in acknowledging past wrongs and providing healing for a more positive future.

More recently Regional Director Jeff Broadnax, along with several pastors, interns and members, helped organize gatherings called “Together in Christ.” The idea was birthed out of conversations with our community of GCI interns. Though space for participants was somewhat limited, these weekends allowed for honest discussion and were conducted from the platform that Jesus is the unifying factor for all broken relationships and lives. True human togetherness and unity can be found only in surrendered relationship to Jesus.

“Together in Christ” was intentionally hosted by local GCI churches because this is the space where we should be able to come together with our hurts and differences and find forgiveness and restoration in the presence and power of Jesus. It is my hope that our GCI churches are maturing in Christ and are healthy enough to weather any social challenges or obstacles that come our way, and we can continue to hold “Together in Christ” events to address difficult social matters.

If you are a person of color and never had the opportunity to participate in any of these GCI sponsored events, my prayer is you will have an opportunity in the future. For those of you who have never heard a public apology for any racial slurs or mistreatments you have suffered within our church, let me say on behalf of our denomination: Please accept our heartfelt apology for the individual and systemic discriminatory and racist actions, teachings and culture we openly or ignorantly embraced and allowed. Please forgive us. May we never repeat the sins of the past, and through the power of the Spirit may we value all people as beloved children of God treating everybody with genuine love and respect.”

Together in Christ we can and will go forward!

Greg Williams

P.S. If you have not yet read the cover letter for the July Equipper, I encourage you to do so. My long-time friend and fellow pastor, Charles Taylor does a marvelous job in his article “Know Justice, Know Peace – Know Jesus, Know Peace.”

25 thoughts on “Apology”

  1. Thank you Greg, praying that this helps all who have been hurt and that we could move forward together in Christ.

  2. The universal church, and as individuals we have a lot to answer for. Time and time again we have brought shame on the name of Jesus Christ for our actions and behaviour which has been unfitting of his precious sacrifice that has saved us and brought us into his marvellous light. May he forgive us!

  3. Thank you for this message. I have been thinking about an old hymn that we used to sing years ago. It was written by John Oxenham who lived from 1852-1941 and is called “In Christ ThereIs No East or Weast and the words are very appropriate for what is happening around us today.

  4. Thank you Greg. That was well said and heartfelt. As a long time member I appreciate all you said on behalf of everyone.

  5. Thanks Pastor! As one of many who experienced a type of “‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor at my feet'” (James 2:3), I appreciate the willingness to admit the offence and apologize.

    1. Thank you so much! This is extremely helpful! We continue to pray for you and our denomination as we move together in our participation with our Lord
      in his work.

  6. Thank you my brother for giving a brief history of what we have gone through and endured at times in our congregations. I being a man of color thank God that as a denomination we are practicing loving one another no matter.what. I thank Him that He loved us first and is teaching us how to love like He loves. 100/0 principal, even our enemies. My prayer is that we continue to grow in His grace, knowledge, love and mercy. Love you Greg.

    1. Johnnie, being a long time member, I do recall our local congregation having a “reconciliation” sermon and meeting a long time ago, can’t recall the year, though. I thought at the time that it was a good thing and hoped that it helped.

  7. We thank God for you Pastor Williams. The holy spirit has led you to bring needed healing to the body of Christ. I have been a member since 1973 and as an African American, I agree with and deeply appreciate your loving comments. I have been hurt by various racist comments. A former pastor in my church said “blacks got what they deserved in slavery.” I stayed but his comments were deeply offensive! Thanks for your example of leading us in the love of Christ.

    1. Willie, your comment brought me to tears. I’m Hispanic, but I feel your hurt and I’m so sorry for what you went through. I’m a long time member and I’m happy that you stayed, like you said, because I believe God places us where He needs us to be. You are loved and may you continue to be blessed.

  8. Thank you for your heartfelt and humble words of contrition, Greg. And I love the “Together In Christ” idea!

  9. Hi Greg, so thankful for your article. George was a chapter leader for ORM and we worked tirelessly in this area for many years. We are both still very passionate about recognizing and healing the effects of racism and are continuing our work in this area. Thank you for your openness and speaking out on this topic, especially at this time. Blessings.

  10. Thank you Greg, your words are very appreciated and timely. I have a friend who has a black son. She will be joyful when I share your message with her. She is very sensitive to the racial ongoing injustices and always worries for her son. Thank you again.

  11. Thank you so much Greg, as a person of color the apology felt full of understanding and love for all persons of color. So for that I thank you!

  12. Thank you Greg for your timely message. It was well written. I have been a Chapter Leader under Curtis May since the start of ORM, and I have appreciated our growth in Christ’s reconciliation as WCG became GCI.

  13. Thank you Greg for this bold and gracious response to this issue. I was also a victim of this prejudice mindset in the church for many years. Thanks again and many blessings to you and our denomination.

  14. As a person of color and a member since birth I want to thank you for this important step in the healing process. I pray we continue to have courageous conversations and truly LISTEN to each other. With the help of the Holy Spirit may we continue to move forward in christian love, unity and understanding.

  15. I remember how uncomfortable I felt hearing sermons and comments about Israel and prophecy. Was I left out? Thank God for inspiring Paul to write Galatians 6:16 “…the Israel of God” And Romans 9:8 “…the children of the promise…”

    1. Thank you for this, leaders of God Grag and Susan.You are truly God’s messenger and a blessing to the body of Jesus Christ each day. Furthermore a blessing too, to all who respond as well. You truly inspired me.my prayers is for God to continual guide you in his path of favor.

      With godly love, From Ethel.

  16. Thanks Greg in keeping us headed in the unity with God and each other Through Christ Jesus, One Mediator between God and man. The things we now are given to see by the faith of Christ are Eternal! 2 Cor 4:18

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