Resolution of Repentance, Apology, and Resolve
                                      (from the Cumberland Presbyterian Church)
 

WHEREAS, we Cumberland Presbyterians are considering the call of God to “Go” during this 186th meeting of the General Assembly; and
WHEREAS, Jesus sent the twelve with these instructions: “As you go, proclaim the good news. The kingdom of heaven has come near. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” (Matthew 10:7-8); and
WHEREAS, we seek the healing of our divisions as Cumberland Presbyterians; and
WHEREAS, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was founded in 1810 in Dickson County, Tennessee, USA, and grew rapidly in a nation that endorsed, participated in, and benefited from the practice of enslaving African men, women and children who were brought to this nation through the brutal trans-Atlantic slave trade; and
WHEREAS, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was inconsistent in its condemnation of American slavery as an institution — an institution that condoned the buying and selling of persons made in the image of God; an institution in which African American families were often separated, and individuals were beaten and abused in body and mind; and
WHEREAS, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church often condoned the segregation of its African American members into separate balconies, congregations, and classes because of the influence of cultural ideas of racial superiority and inferiority; and
WHEREAS, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church refused to allow its African American members full and equal membership following emancipation and the end of slavery; organizing instead separate congregations, presbyteries, and other judicatories that were denied representation in the General Assembly, and
WHEREAS, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church encouraged and supported the organization of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America (originally the Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Church) in 1874 in order to avoid the difficult work of integration, and to avoid offending its members who continued to hold fast to ideas of racial superiority; and
WHEREAS, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was complicit in accepting Jim Crow segregation, lynching as a means of social control, economic oppression of freed slaves, and denial of educational opportunities; and
WHEREAS, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America have both suffered from their separation, a separation that is harmful to the witness of the Church and a denial of our oneness in Christ; and
WHEREAS, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church laments the loss of friendship, gifts and graces from which our life, worship, witness and service would have been enriched had we not been separated all these years; and
WHEREAS, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church affirms the providence of God, whose purpose it is “that the whole creation be set free from its bondage to sin and death, and be renewed in Jesus Christ” (COF, 1.15); and
WHEREAS, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church acknowledges our ongoing need for repentance, so that “In response to God’s initiative to restore relationships, (we) make honest confession of sin against God, (our) brothers and sisters, and all of creation, and amend the past so far as is in (our) power.” (COF, 4.07); therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church repent and seek God’s forgiveness for the many ways we have benefited from, participated in, condoned, and been blind to our role in racism, oppression of our African American brothers and sisters, and all forms of brutality; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church apologize to our African American brothers and sisters, seek their forgiveness, and work to restore the broken relationships our sin has caused; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church commit itself to preach the Word of God without compromise, and that we resolve to “oppose, resist, and seek to change all circumstances of oppression—political, economic, cultural, racial, by which persons are denied the essential dignity God intends for them in the work of creation (COF, 6.30). We seek to promote reconciliation, love and justice among all persons, classes, races, and nations: (COF, 6.32). (Quoted in the Resolution Marking the 50th year since the end of World War II, by Japan Presbytery of the CPC)
 
 
 
                                          Resolution of Forgiveness, Unity, and Resolve
                                  (from the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America)
 

WHEREAS, we Cumberland Presbyterians are considering the call of God as we embrace our 2017 Theme of “Connecting With Our Neighbor” (Luke 10:29-37) during the 142nd convening of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America (CPCA), General Assembly; and
WHEREAS, Jesus commands his followers with specific instructions: go, teach, baptize, forgive and make disciples. (Matthew 28:18-20), and
WHEREAS, the Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Church was formed in May of 1874 as a result of the racism and segregation practices that existed within the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and directed towards its African-American membership. Where, in defense of Cumberland Presbyterian institutionalized segregation and resulting unequal representation, African American members petitioned the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for assistance in organizing a separate body for African Americans, allowing the African American membership) to become independent and self-reliant, to develop its own clergy and other leaders, and maintain its own church buildings, all with encouragement and financial support from the parent denomination. The resulting predominately African American (black) church was re-named as the Second Cumberland Presbyterian Church before assuming its current name; and
WHEREAS, we proudly celebrate the faith and conviction of our early CPCA fathers, our committed African American Presbyterians ancestors. We recognize their witness as fellow pilgrims on the journey of faith and as our spiritual ancestors who “earnestly contended for the faith that was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). We commend them for their vision and proclaim those Church Fathers as our spiritual ancestors who taught us not only to reverence the mystery of God through word, thought, and deed, but also to celebrate the African American heritage of Christianity through witness in the tradition of those few, but brave and faithful men and women of color: and
WHEREAS, we joyfully acknowledge that God is truly the sustainer of us all! We recognize that fact as evident in that the CPCA and CPC entities both are still in existence and are both focused, working to carry out the Great Commission; and, although in many ways working separately in God’s vineyard, both CPC and CPCA congregations have a willingness and desire to live in His heavenly will as is evident in their continued partnership; and
WHEREAS, relations between the two Cumberland Presbyterian Churches have for the most part been very cordial, with many of the CPCA ministers having received training at Memphis Theological Seminary. The two denominations continue to share a Confession of Faith and cooperate in many common ministries; and
WHEREAS, in true Christian fashion the 186th General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church does recognize, confess, and condemn and repent of past failures to love brothers and sisters from minority cultures in accordance with what the Gospel requires, as well as failures to lovingly confront their brothers and sisters concerning racial sins and personal bigotry, and failing to “learn to do good, seek justice and correct oppression” (Isaiah 1:17); and
WHEREAS, the 186th General Assembly of the CPC has resolved to apologize to us, their African American brothers and sisters, and seeks our forgiveness, and has further resolved to work to restore the broken relationships their sin has caused. The CPC has resolved to recommit itself to the gospel task of racial reconciliation, diligently seeking effective courses of action to further that goal, with humility, sincerity and zeal, for the glory of God and the furtherance of the Gospel; and
WHEREAS, we also seek the healing of our division as Cumberland Presbyterians. We know, not just in our hearts and minds, but where our faith resides, that the path of forgiveness is the direction we are meant to take. “All of this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to him … and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19); and have therefore hereby
RESOLVED, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America in its entirety hopes and prays that the Apology will be words of action and sincerity not only in the sanctuary, but in every facet of our daily lives. In the new spirit this Apology has created, let us unite our hearts and minds in the wholeness of life that God has given us. May God grant us strength and vision for the journey towards right relations and well-being and see the possibilities and promise of healing; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America accepts the CPC apology and we extend to you our forgiveness in the name of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Ephesians 4:31-32, says, “let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice, and be kind, one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven you”; and be it further
RESOLVED, because of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and His great love toward us, we extend that same love, forgiveness, grace and mercy towards you. We pray that the genuineness of your repentance and our forgiveness will be reflected in the attitudes and actions of all. We forgive you, for Christ’s sake, Amen.