A message of lament
From Everence President and CEO Ken Hochstetler
Even though we are many individuals, Christ makes us one body and individuals who are connected to each other. – Romans 12:5 (GW)
Like so many across our faith communities, I am distressed by the painful events happening across the United States.
From continued violence against Black individuals, to xenophobic attacks against Asians and Asian Americans, to the 100,000 Americans lost to COVID-19 (a pandemic that has also taken a disproportionate toll on diverse and economically disadvantaged communities), my heart is heavy with lament as we witness – once again – communal pain, distrust and anger boiling over into the streets and our own neighborhoods.
The protests and cries of anguish remind us that discrimination and oppression are an ever-present and daily reality for many who are part of the Everence family – including our employees and members. The events of this last week prompt us to acknowledge the systemic biases that impact people of color and other marginalized communities, whether manifested in violence and weaponized racism or in unequal access to resources such as financial services, education, employment, housing and health care. We have a responsibility to consider our own behaviors, attitudes and biases; to take steps to learn; and to stand in solidarity with our colleagues, neighbors and communities most impacted by injustice.
Everence® was founded 75 years ago on the belief that all we are and all we have are from God. We have grown out of a long tradition of communities putting faith into action by sharing with and supporting one another. Our core values include working for peace, justice, compassion and spiritual transformation so that – together – we can enrich and grow the lives we share. As an organization called to serve all within the body of Christ, this work includes doing what we can to address unjust disparities that harm our sisters, brothers, neighbors and friends.
I hold in my prayers the countless individuals who have endured injustice and loss for far too long. And Everence continues its commitment to build awareness and change unconscious biases now and into the future – for both our organization and the communities where we live and serve. May we continue to walk alongside each other, actively working to provide healing, hope and reconciliation for all of God’s children.