Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest? Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind… And… You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Since its founding in 1821, the roots of First Presbyterian Church have wound inextricably through the roots of Charlotte, exerting a powerful impact both as a body of Christ and as a group of dedicated individuals acting throughout the community. Countless examples exist of faithful, compassionate, even courageous ministries spread by FPC and its members.
But because the Church is a human instrument used by God for divine purposes, there are also examples of human failings and sinfulness. Thus, the soil of our history includes numerous incidents of exclusion, racism, sexism, and other affronts to the promise of God’s inseparable love for all people. In particular, FPC and its members have condoned, sanctioned, and given moral legitimacy to slavery and white supremacy.
We confess these moral failings unequivocally. We do so not as morally superior beings casting judgment on the past, but as sinners in need of God’s grace. The purpose of confession and repentance is to acknowledge our need for grace before God. To be a covenant community means we must own the sins of the past if we are to repent and respond to God’s call to a new and better future together. We are committed both to remembering our history and to continuing to take steps towards repair.
As we work to repent of our sins, we look forward to the promise of forgiveness, and to the promise of resurrection – both of which remind us that change and a new way of life are not only possible, but are assured through Christ our Redeemer.
In memory of all those who entered and worshipped at First Presbyterian Church as enslaved or otherwise subordinated people, including these described by name in Session minutes: Marie, a colored woman belonging to Rev. Cyrus Johnson; Joe, a slave formerly the property of James Irwin; Charity, a servant girl of Mr. Irwin; Sophia, a servant to Joseph H. White; Charles, a servant belonging to John Williamson; and Alexander, a servant of Mr. Henderson.