An Open Letter concerning racism in our Province of British Columbia

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

More than 150 Christian Leaders of British Columbia have signed this Open Letter in response to racism in all its forms, especially as directed against Asian, Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) in our Canadian communities.

We grieve and mourn the continued racism against all people. Specifically, we are saddened by the rise in verbal and physical attacks on Asian Canadians. We acknowledge that recent incidents in Canada and the United States have occurred within a growing context of anti-Asian racism and violence.

In honour of Asian Heritage Month and the upcoming centenary of Canada’s Exclusion Act (1923), we condemn these activities in Canada and around the world.

Anti-Asian racist incidents have grown at unprecedented rates since 2020. Asian Heritage Month reminds us of both the contributions made by the Asian communities and of sad historical realities such as the Head Tax, the Vancouver Anti-Asian Riots of 1907 and the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II. Anti-Asian rhetoric and violence amplified by COVID-19 also remind us that Asian women and seniors continue to be disproportionately affected by incidents of racism.

We stand with and for Asian and BIPOC Canadian communities. We see and affirm the anger, grief, pain and fear of Asian-Canadian families. We pledge to support you and will follow up through community care events for those wrestling with the emotional, spiritual and psychological impact of these racist incidents.

As Christian leaders, we categorically condemn the sin of racism. We acknowledge that racism may take many forms, from overt violence and threats to racial microaggressions, dismissiveness and omissions. We exhort our community members to consider their own words and deeds, and to endeavour to learn more of our shared history.

We commit ourselves to challenge all forms of racism and discrimination. We must continue to work together to build a just and caring British Columbia for ourselves and for future generations. Now is the time for renewal of our commitment to work to rectify racial and socio-economic inequities.

How can we bring justice and beauty to our cities, province and nation? Statements are not enough. Please consider ways we can encourage, ally, report and pursue greater vigilance in protecting our communities from racism. Let us look out for the vulnerable as we consider various forms of Bystander Training and Awareness. Consider allyship through your consumer choices by patronizing Asian and BIPOC restaurants and retail establishments.

Anyone seeking counseling resources may wish to contact our counseling collaborators, including those listed on the link, and use or support the free faith-based resources available via Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries. (www.sanctuarymentalhealth.org/2021/04/01/stop-asian-hate/)

May our Lord continue to lead us to establish greater awareness, compassion and justice with our Asian and BIPOC family so that we may love and serve one another as unto the Lord. We pray that we will model a more redemptive society based on Jesus’ love and example as we seek to follow His teachings in Scripture.

By God’s grace and mercy,

Rev. Dr. Raymond C. Aldred, Director, Indigenous Studies, Interim Dean, VST

Michael Audain, Chairman, Polygon Homes

Thomas Cooper, President,  City in Focus Foundation

Dr. June Francis, Associate Professor, Beedie School of Business SFU

Lawrence J. Ho, Senior Fellow, Murdock Charitable Trust

Honourable Yonah Martin, Senator

DENOMINATIONAL LEADERS
Archdiocese of Vancouver, Roman Catholic Church Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB
Archdiocese of Vancouver Coordinator, Chinese Ministry Paul Chu (Rev.)
BC Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada Bishop Greg Mohr
BC Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada Assistant to the Bishop Kathy Martin (Rev.)
British Columbia Baptist Conference District Minister Bernard Mukwavi (Rev. Dr.)
Canadian Baptists of Western Canada Executive Minister Rob Ogilvie (Rev.)
Canadian Pacific District, The Alliance Canada District Superintendent Errol Rempel
Diocese of New Westminster Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster John Stephens (The Right Rev.)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada National Bishop (Retired) Raymond Schultz
Mennonite Church British Columbia Executive Minister Garry Janzen
North American Baptist Fellowship General Secretary Jeremy Bell (Rev.)
Pacific Mountain Region, United Church of Canada President Blair Odney
Pacific Mountain Region, United Church of Canada Executive Minister Treena Duncan
Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, British Columbia & Yukon District District Superintendent Ken Russell, (Rev.)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria Bishop Gary Gordon
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Nelson Bishop Gregory Bittman (Most Rev.)
Westcoast Baptist Association Regional Ministry Leader Hamish Buntain
NON-PROFIT EXECUTIVES
Alabaster Homes President Herman Kwee
Baptist Housing President & CEO Marc Kinna
City in Focus Foundation Chair of the Board Lindsay Bishop
City of Focus Foundation President Tom Cooper
CityGate Vancouver Executive Director Tim Dickau (Rev. Dr.)
HOPE International Development Agency Executive Director Kim Savage
Journey Home Community Association Executive Director Brad Kinnie
L’Arche Vancouver Executive Director Denise Haskett,
Mission Central Executive Director John Hall
Mission Possible Executive Director & CEO Matthew Smedley
More Than a Roof Mennonite Housing Society Chief Executive Officer Lee-Anne Michayluk
Pacific Theatre Artistic Director Kaitlin Williams
Providence Health Care Society Volunteer Chair Mark Spelliscy
Ratanak International Founding Director Brian McConaghy
Salvation Army, Divisional Headquarters, BC Division Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Jamie Braund
Servant Partners Canada Executive Director Krista-Dawn Kimsey
Signal Hill Executive Director Derek Scott
Surrey Urban Mission Society Executive Director Mike Musgrove
Union Gospel Mission President William B. Mollard
World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Former Secretary General Geoff Tunnicliffe
Whole Way House Society President & Co-Founder Jenny Konkin
World Vision Canada Philanthropy Advisor Lisa Hamilton
Worship Central Director Peter Cheng
MARKETPLACE LEADERS
Allan Skidmore Chair Skidmore Group
Andy Szocs Owner Szocs Foundation
Angus Reid Chairman Angus Reid Institute
David C. Bentall President & Founder Next Step Advisors Inc.
David G. McLean Chairman The McLean Group
Dianne Doyle President St. Thomas More College & Chair of Providence Living Society BC
Dick Vollet President & CEO St. Paul’s Foundation
Dr. June Francis Associate Professor Beedie School of Business, SFU
Dr. Peter Chung Executive Chairman Executive Chairman, Primacorp Ventures Inc
Eric J. Harris, Q.C Chair Providence Health Care Board
Fiona Dalton CEO Providence Health Care
Flyn Ritchie Publisher Church for Vancouver
Gordie Cochran Founding Partner Colours + Shapes
Graeme Illman Executive Director Ratanak International
Grant Damery Managing Director RBC
Grayson Bain CEO Reconcile Business Consulting
Henry F. Man Vice-Chair Providence Health Care Society Board
Jae Kim Principal Principal, JK Philanthropy Advisors
Jeffrey P. Greenman President Regent College
Jim Pattison Chairman & CEO The Jim Pattison Group
Joo Kim Tiah CEO Holborn Group
Judy Graves Retired: Homeless Advocate, Vancouver City Hall
Manjy and David Sidoo Members Sidoo Family Giving
Michael Audain Chairman Polygon Homes Ltd.
Michael Higgins President/Principal Corpus Christi and St. Mark’s Colleges
Mike Rickaby President Paragon Financial Services Inc.
Nalini McIntosh HR Consultant Self Employed
P.M. Bull President P.M. Bull Company Ltd
Paolo Aquilini Principal Aquilini Investment Group (AIG)
Peter J. Mogan Founding Partner and Lawyer Mogan Daniels Slager LLP
Raymond C. Aldred, (Rev. Dr ) Director, Indigenous Studies Program, Interim Dean VST
Rosie Perera Member Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship.
Santa Ono & Wendy Yip President, University Ambassador UBC
Scot Sustad Co-Founder Digital Hot Sauce & Inbox Booths Digital Hot Sauce Inc.
Yonah Martin (The Honourable) Canadian Senator Canadian Parliament
LOCAL PASTORS
BC Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada Rev. Carol J. Dennison
BC Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada Rev. Tim Dutcher-Walls
Cedar Grove Baptist Church Executive Pastor Michael Vuorensivu
Cedar Grove Church Youth Pastor Steve Swaddling
Chinatown Peace Church Pastor Martin To
Christ Community Church Nanaimo Pastor Kelli Sexton
Christ Community Church, Victoria Pastor Willem Delleman
Christian Reformed Churches of BC Chaplain & Refugee Support Mobilizer Dena Nicolai
City Collective Church Lead Pastor Jason Charles
Dunbar Lutheran Church and Benediction Lutheran Church Rev. Thomas Keeley
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada Rev. Benedicte Hansen
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada Pastor, Retired H. Paul Schmidt
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada Rev. David Lefsrud
First Christian Reformed Church (Vancouver) Pastor Trevor Vanderveen
First Lutheran Church Pastor Rebekah Swanson
Fraser Lands Church Senior Pastor Abe Chan
Fraser Lands Church Cantonese Ministry Pastor Xavier Law
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Pastor Eric Krushel
Grace Lutheran Church Rev. Nathan Fong
Granville Chapel Lead Pastor Andrew Perrett
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church Rev. Vida Jaugelis
Jericho Ridge Community Church Lead Pastor Brad Sumner
Jubilee United Church Lead Minister Graham K. Brownmiller
King of Life Lutheran Church Rev. Dorothy Chu
Living Stones Chinese Mennonite Church Pastor Audrey Sheu
Mennonite Japanese Christian Fellowship Pastor Gerald Neufeld
Mount Olive Lutheran Church Pastor Peter Hanson
Nelson Avenue Community Church Pastor Johannes Schouten
Oak Bay United Church Rev. Michelle Slater
Peace Church on 52nd Co-Pastor Adam Back
Peace Mennonite Church Lead Pastor Winston Pratt
Peace Portal Alliance Church Lead Pastor Scott Dickie
Peninsula United Church Minister Bruce McAndless-Davis
Richmond Peace Chinese Mennonite Church Lead Pastor Samuel Wong
Richmond Presbyterian Church Lead Minister Victor Kim
Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church Pastor Kristen Steele
Shiloh-5th Avenue United Church Rev. Shannon Tennant
Spirit of Life Lutheran Church Rev. Aneeta Saroop
Squamish United Church Minister Karen Millard
St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church Rev. Dan Chambers
St. John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church & VST Rev. Elizabeth Ruder
Tenth Church Senior Pastor Ken Shigematsu
The River Church Squamish Lead Pastor Darcy Reimer
The River Church Squamish Associate Pastor Kenda Reimer
The Tapestry Church Pastor Albert Y.S. Chu
The Tapestry Marpole Rev. Jesse Pals
The Tapestry Mundy Park Pastor Samuel Lee
The Tapestry Nights Rev. Michael Yang
The Way Church Vancouver Pastor Jason Ballard
Trinity Anglican & Lutheran Church, Port Alberni Rev. Brenda Nestegaard Paul
Westside Church Lead Pastor Matthew Menzel
Westwood Community Church Rev. Giulio Lorefice Gabeli
Grace Vancouver Church Rev. Dr. Michael N. Hsu
Lutheran Church of the Cross, Victoria Co-Pastor Lyle McKenzie
Chinatown Peace Church Pastor Tim Kuepfer
St. Paul’s Lutheran, Prince Rupert Rev. Diana S. Edis
Grandview Church Rev. Joy Banks
Christian Reformed Church of North America Rev. Kenneth Vander Horst
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