The congregation of Willow Avenue Mennonite Church, Clovis, California, joined the national anti-racism conversation sparked by the killing of George Floyd and other acts of police brutality when it created a mural of signs on the fence of its property.
In a letter to the congregation, pastor Audrey Hindes described the protests and rallies as an “important moment in the history of our country” and wrote that the impromptu mural created on the fence outside the White House in Washington, D.C., inspired her to invite congregants and community members to create something similar.
“Predominantly white churches like ours must not be silent,” wrote Hindes. “Our theological claims and values for social justice demand that we stand with our sisters and brothers of color.”
Hindes invited members of the church and the community to bring their posters and signs to the church on Friday morning, June 19, also known as Juneteenth. Artistic ability was not a requirement, said Hindes. “Simple words count too,” she wrote.
Zip ties were available for participants to attach their contributions to the fence. Friends from other churches who wanted to do something to affirm people of color were among those who created posters. As participants were installing the display, people in passing cars shared their affirmation.
“One young woman who came lives in Southern California, but was working in the area for a few weeks,” says Hindes in an email to the CL. “She said that she is not a person of faith, but was Googling looking for a way to participate in an anti-racism demonstration. So she brought a poster to hang on the fence and was encouraged that a church would host such an event.”
A number of Willow Avenue members who participated shared pictures on Facebook, proud to be a part of a predominantly white congregation that is not staying silent about the sin of racism, says Hindes.
The 69 posters were on display through the end of June.
To view a video of the mural click here.