Declaration of Unity by Second Baptist Church and Lake Street Church

 August 26, 2018
Posted by Lake Street Church

On Sunday, August 26, 2018, the Lake Street Church of Evanston congregation voted to adopt the following declaration, establishing a sister church relationship with Second Baptist Church.

Declaration of Unity by Second Baptist Church and Lake Street Church
Striving for Healing in a Painfully-Divided World

The Spirit of the Lord has anointed us to care for souls; experience the joy of celebrating God’s goodness; and work collaboratively to accomplish much to the glory of God.
— Second Baptist Church Mission

Awakening to the sacred, cultivating connectedness, inspiring justice and compassion
in the world
— Lake Street Church Mission

 

WE, the congregations of Second Baptist Church and Lake Street Church of Evanston, Illinois are committed to working together as predominantly African American and predominantly white houses of worship, respectively, to destroy racism in our town. We respond to God’s call to promote healing in a painfully-divided world.

WE proclaim that the systemic racism that originally led to the division of our churches in 1882 has continued over the past century, in a city that has not seriously challenged white supremacy in its policies and practices. Discriminatory housing practices, inequitable access to education and other public resources, over-policing of African American communities, and unequal access to a living wage are examples of racism that persist in our community.  Racism has hurt us as individuals and has fractured our communities.  We strive to eradicate it together through prayerful and intentional acts of love.

WE acknowledge the initial efforts to bring healing to the two congregations, Second Baptist and Lake Street (formerly First Baptist Church) – and we undertake movement to a new place, a place of radical wholeness and love.  Beginning with Lake Street’s 1991 Statement of Reconciliation, the exchange of worship services; planned gatherings, collaborative ministries; and shared resources and programs, have created opportunities for our congregations to grow closer in building the universal ideal of Beloved Community.  Now, as white Lake Street Church members commit fully to addressing and uprooting racism, we fight as one for justice.

WE believe more brings us together than separates us. Indeed, we share a sacred public trust, to strengthen individuals, empower families, educate our congregations, and enable our town to become a Beloved Community where all people are welcomed, respected, and equitably offered opportunities. We seek to make our relationship as sister churches one that helps us become better, stronger, wiser, braver, and closer to God.  We hope that over time other houses of faith will join us in this endeavor.

WE resolve to begin and to sustain collective work and mutual cooperation in areas that are in need of transformation and change in our community. This includes, but is not limited to, public education, law enforcement, housing, employment, and economic justice.  We stand as sister churches arm in arm, independent and interdependent, fortified by God’s love.

TOGETHER, led by God, we will grow much closer through the work of helping Evanston, Illinois, become a town where all people know they are part of Beloved Community. Together, we are Striving for Healing in a Painfully-Divided World.

Accepted and Agreed to by,

Second Baptist Church and Lake Street Church
Evanston, Illinois
July 2018

To celebrate our sisterhood and unity against racism our two churches will be holding joint worship services and a unity march on Sunday, September 30, 2018.