Dear Concordians:

As a University community, Concordia-Chicago mourns the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd on May 25, 2020. We have all looked with horror at the images of this episode, and we condemn the brutal violence that took his life. Such savage treatment by officers of the law is inexcusable and oppressive. We call on those in authority to pursue justice – both in this case and in all their future conduct with the people whom God has called them to serve.

The atrocity committed against Mr. Floyd and the pattern of abuse his death represents have rightly provoked outrage. Sadly, that outrage and the atrocity at its core are now being overshadowed by widespread violence and looting. These cynical and opportunistic actions will do nothing to bring the justice and healing our country so desperately needs.

All of these disturbing events remind us that racism, hatred, and contempt are persistent threats to our life together. In the face of these evils, we repent for the times we have failed to care for others as we should, and we commit ourselves to renewing our efforts to love our neighbors. In that spirit, we categorically reject racism in any form. We confess that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27), and together, we were all created to live as one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

During this season of Pentecost, we are reminded of one of Christ’s promises to us:

...the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:26-27).

We know that in these distressing times, the Holy Spirit brings us God’s greatest gift, His Son, to bestow forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. Only in these gifts will we find the true peace that calms our troubled hearts. Consequently, in our life in Christ, there should be no hatred, no enmity, no hostility between us, only the pursuit of reconciliation.

Thus, in the midst of our grief, our University community will protect, show mercy to, and care for one another. We encourage the members of our community to live out their vocations in a manner that resonates with our University values. May we listen to others with integrity and serve others tirelessly to ensure that every individual, as a member of God’s creation, is valued as a unique human being, blessed with inherent dignity and worth. This pathway of righteousness is the work of the Holy Spirit in us, and it is what makes true joy and lasting reconciliation possible in our University, our communities, and the world beyond.

I remind those members of our University community who are struggling with recent events that Concordia-Chicago offers counseling services and spiritual care as sources of support. For those who would like to seek assistance in these stressful times, we’re here to help.

Finally, we offer our prayers to God for Mr. Floyd’s family and for those communities that are experiencing so much suffering and destruction. As we confront these challenges, we rejoice that we are a united, diverse, and blessed community. May we, in Christ, resist racism, hatred, and contempt, and instead promote justice, pursue peace, and protect the dignity of all.

Yours in Christ,

Russell P. Dawn, DPhil, JD