(Approved by the Church Board on 2/8/22)
The Church Board of the La Verne Church of the Brethren acknowledges our congregation’s building in La Verne, California is located on the homeland of the Kizh/Tongva people. We have come to understand that we are the beneficiaries of land stolen from the Kizh/Tongva people through violence, forced servitude, and other violations of human dignity and human rights. Beginning with the establishment of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel in 1771, European Christian settlers’ brutality toward Kizh/Tongva people was done under the auspices of converting indigenous people to Christianity, and acts of physical and structural violence were committed in the name of Jesus Christ.
Our congregation rejects this theology of Christian colonialism, and we believe it to be antithetical to the life and message of Jesus Christ. Yet our congregation is a complicit benefactor of the social and political systems born from the theology of imperialism. Our Brethren forebears arrived in La Verne from the midwestern US in the late 1800s. The subjugation of the Kizh/Tongva people by prior White Christian settlers cleared a path for our congregation’s founding and the construction of our church. Our congregation has taken root on this land for over a century as the marginalization of Kizh/Tongva people has persisted.
We grieve these atrocities and recognize our responsibilities to seek social and political justice for indigenous people that still struggle with loss of cultural traditions, human rights, and social equity. Our congregation is seeking a path of understanding by engaging in education, self-reflection, and justice work through various church and community study groups and events. This ongoing work is a critical part of our congregation’s calling to continue the work of Jesus—Peacefully, Simply, Together.
Luke 12:48b “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.”
Revised Version approved by Church Board, [2/8/22]