La Verne Church of the Brethren Land Acknowledgement Statement
(Approved by the Church Board on 10/12/21)
Our congregation’s church in La Verne, California is located on the homeland of the Kizh/Tongva people.
Kizh/Tongva people have been subjected to violence, forced servitude, and other violations of human dignity and human rights on this land since the establishment of the nearby Mission San Gabriel Arcángel in the late 1700s. The European Christian settlers’ brutality toward Kizh/Tongva people began 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 the 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 marginalization of Kizh/Tongva people has persisted.
We are seeking a path toward justice, beginning with understanding the role of our church and ourselves in the oppression of Kizh/Tongva people. Our congregation is engaging in education and self-reflection through CONNECT! groups and events. This ongoing work is a critical part of our congregation’s calling to continue the work of Jesus