From the Interim Executive,

Our entry into Holy Week reminds us that Jesus made an active choice to go to the cross. He was neither painted into a corner nor the unwitting victim of political machinations. John’s Gospel tells us that “Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world….Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Jesus chose to be sacrificed on the cross, for us and for our benefit.

Over the past two weeks we have seen fellow Americans sacrificed, not of their own choice, and for no one’s benefit. Eight were killed in the Atlanta area in massage parlors, and then ten more were slaughtered at a grocery store in Boulder. Every life lost and person injured is tragic.

Six of the eight victims in Atlanta were Asian American females. The massacre brought to light the increasing violence against their racial-ethnic community—violence that has a long history but which has skyrocketed over the last year.

I have been learning a lot about this violence in the last week, and I wanted to share with you some resources which might be helpful to you or your congregation.  Two Presbyterian pastor friends of mine (Laura Cheifetz and Mihee Kim-Kort) have written excellent and poignant articles for CNN (Opinion: Asian Americans are treated as perpetual foreigners. That has to change – CNN) and for the New York Times (Opinion | The Atlanta Shootings and a Religious Toxicity – The New York Times (

The congregation where the Synod office is housed, Kirk in the Hills in Bloomfield Hills, MI, is hosting an adult education series taught by Asian scholars William Yoo of Columbia Seminary and Soong-Chan Rah from North Park Seminary.  It runs on Zoom each Sunday from April 18-May 23 at 12:15.  You can learn more and register at Spring Series 2021 – Formstack.

Finally, I have shared a prayer at the presbytery meetings where I have spoken since that tragedy; you can find it at A Prayer for the US Asian Community – Synod of the Covenant.

When we feel overwhelmed by tragedies like both recent shootings, we can be grateful that Jesus not only willingly sacrificed himself for the good of humanity, but he also rose from the dead—and with the same dynamic energy that brought Jesus back to life, the Holy Spirit empowers us and our work to address violence and all the other needs of the world. Thanks be to God!

Your partner in ministry,

Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD
Interim Executive