Pastor Kevin Ginyard, wife Patricia, and congregation of Holy City Church of God in Christ
2271 North Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06604:
I have longed to worship with you for quite some time, just because we’re friends, but this week especially, my heart aches for both of us. I could use some healing, you could use some support and we both could use a few laughs. Your lovely wife Patricia has been as kind as a person could be for 25 years now. I can picture in my head to this day her suggesting in a grocery store parking lot that my wife and I have children. Pat’ll be happy to know we’ve taken her up on her suggestion and we have raised great, caring children, just as you have. Of course, your late father-in-law Bishop Ivory Holden was a great man, and I miss him as well.
This week, it is my wife’s birthday, and she works as hard as our friend Benny Claytor did, preaching and working in Providence, RI and coming back here to Connecticut to be a wife and mother every week, so I’ll be staying with her and the kids. She works hard for justice every day in her church and I’d like to think I do in my own way, as well, in therapy with diverse clients, in ministry when I’m doing that, and in this blog. That is why I write to you today.
The Trump presidency is probably no surprise to you, as you have been dealing with racism every day of your lives. Among other things I remember African-Americans in Bridgeport dealing with are environmental racism — a toxic waste dump was being put next to a friend’s church and local state Senator was accosted at gunpoint by police for being lost in Trumbull and clearly “not supposed to be there”. The city, overall, has gotten better, I think, but clearly racism has not, or we wouldn’t be in this mess.
Still, the events of this week have cleared up any delusions that things are getting better for you, your wife, or your congregation, and for that I apologize. I have the luxury of going home to a safe environment, and you do not. Most of the people I worship with have the luxury of travel anywhere without fearing the police unless I break the law. Your parishioners do not. The list of issues goes on and, as Swastikas get spray-painted on schools, as much as I fear living in a state with KKK history, I know it is worse for you.
But this is the good news that I would share with you and your parishioners: You each were created in the image of God. Because of our mutual Creator, and because of the Spirit that resides within you — there if any would bother to look — no one gets to hurt you without also hurting God. Your bodies, minds, and spirits should not be messed with because doing so is messing with God. You should not be hungry or poor or denied housing because when someone deprives you, they deprive the God within you. When someone puts poison in your neighborhood, they are attempting to poison God’s people. Any injustice done to you to is an injustice against the God that lives within all of us, and we can’t let that happen. Know that my thoughts and prayers — and those of many of my colleagues — are with you, but more than that my body will be with you in Bridgeport soon, my mind will fight injustice on your behalf in Springfield or West Hartford or Harwinton, where my friend Rick lives, or in Western Connecticut where my friend David Ratz lives, or any other place we are. Clergy in Providence have your back, as well. We have your back because God calls us to. We want to know if you’re being hurt or insulted or denied, because any hurt, insult or denial that you feel is an insult to God. We want to know and we want to help in any way we can. I say this with the assurance of the faith in God’s love for all humanity, of which you are a part.
I plan to be with you before year’s end because it does me good to be there with you. I will be there sooner if emergency warrants it. Keep up the good work. Keep the faith, and remind yourself everyday that God created you. Be well, my friends.
Resist oppression with peace, and I will as well.