Black Clergy Call for Prayer for Black Lives

Three months ago, an article I wrote titled "An Open Letter from Black Clergy: A Call for Racial Justice, Healing and Reconciliation," was posted to HuffPost Religion. The letter was signed by Black clergy representing a wide diversity of denominations and perspectives. We stood together calling on faith leaders of all races to commit to the work of not only racial justice but racial healing and reconciliation. We have since grown into a group of over 400 "Black Clergy Calling For Racial Justice, Healing And Reconciliation."

The deaths of unarmed black individuals at the hands of law enforcement and the shootings of members of law enforcement has forced America to take a deeper look at the legacy of our problematic racial history. Since the the time of Abolitionism, clergy have taken leadership roles in movements that sought to dismantle that history and legacy. Clergy involvement is often fueled by the notion of a God of Justice and a God who stands on the side of the oppressed.

As faith leaders, we were compelled to reinforce our justice-seeking work with theological reflection and prayer that engaged the God of Justice. We wanted to actively and sincerely seek God's face and guidance. As faith leaders, we are often sought out to provide a symbolic, religious or pastoral presence at rallies and protests. Yet theological reflection or spiritual engagement is often not held as a priority.

Therefore during this Lenten Season the leadership of Black Clergy Calling for Racial Justice, Healing and Reconciliation began holding a weekly "Call to Prayer for Black Lives" conference call. The calls have featured prominent Black clergy including Rev. Dr. James Forbes and Rev. Traci Blackmon, who provided reflections and prayer about topics ranging from the Protesters and Law Enforcement to Systematic Racism and the Global Village.

As Lent comes to an end, the work has just begun. We hope to continue the conversation, call and commitment. These prayer calls will culminate in a holy week worship service that will be hosted by Office of the Chaplain at the Church Center for the United Nations on the evening of April 1st. This service is open to the public and to people of all races seeking to pray and reflect upon these issues.