We long for the restoration of justice for the poor and disadvantaged in our city and world. We want to use our resources generously for the kingdom of God to advance in our city. We see our presence in the Fillmore as God’s call for us to be light and salt - to love our neighbors (Mark 12:31).
Like many of you, we see the racial injustice and prevailing inequality of our times. We are grieving with the Black community and recognize that great pain has been caused by the sin of our nation. We stand in solidarity with the Black community as we pray for systemic changes in our country. As followers of Christ, we view these events, from the killings of Black victims to the subsequent protests, as a painful reminder of the fall of mankind and the sin of racism. More than ever, as followers of Christ, we are called to be ministers of reconciliation through the Gospel. Because of the Gospel, and through Christ, we can break down walls of hostility and find true restoration.
As a community, we are committed to walk humbly for the long-run and not just for the short-term. We understand that we have so much to learn. We want to grow in our understanding of justice through God’s Word to have a strong biblical foundation guide both our repentance and our response. We ultimately believe that our desire for justice comes from the very heart and character of God.
Biblical justice is a comprehensive understanding of justice that is unique and essential to the Christian worldview. Sin has put a schism in our relationship with God, and without a right relationship with God, we struggle to have right relationships with each other. Simply put, broken people create broken systems. Thus, in the face of deep societal injustice, such as systemic racism, it is not enough to address only the system itself. Lasting restorative change comes from rectifying the relationship between broken people and a loving and perfect God. Because of this, the Gospel is crucial. Without it, we only have a temporal view of justice.
We acknowledge and repent that churches, including our own, have often fallen short of this understanding. We may be tempted to be stuck in inactivity from overthinking and over-cautiousness, but as followers of Jesus, we cannot respond to injustice with rationalized inaction, simplified dismissiveness or apathetic indifference. But neither are we called to respond to injustice in flashes of hatred or self-righteousness. Our sense of justice must always be rooted in the confidence of the Gospel message.
So what does this confidence look like? It is walking in utmost humility with a posture that mirrors Jesus. It is leaning into the cries and pain of our neighbors as well as to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight (Prov 9:10).” It is the courage to act and take steps of faith but also, the courage to remain steady and grounded as the Spirit leads. Our response as a community must be rooted in relationship — with God and with others.
At this time, we recognize that we have much to learn. In the days, months, and years to come, as we wrestle with these issues, with God’s guidance, we can continually push forward in His truth, love, and hope. Our “God of hope fills [us] with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit [we] may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
We recommend a helpful primer and FAQ on the differences between social justice and biblical justice.
While there are personal convictions each of us must be faithful to, as a body of Christ, we must consider this: where do we begin as a church? Since founded in 2012, Radiance has been committed to the call of restoring justice to our neighborhood in the Fillmore - a community that was once a historically-thriving Black neighborhood, referred to as the “Harlem of the West” that has now fallen victim to failed Urban Renewal attempts.
In the past five years, we’ve learned that the Fillmore is one of the most diverse communities within San Francisco, both culturally and socio-economically. Today, residents range from new-to-the-neighborhood tech workers to community natives who have persevered through the challenges of decades of gentrification. The disparity in opportunities and lack of common experiences has led to high tensions and a fragmented community. And yet, the Fillmore’s rich history shows us that we have an incredible opportunity to participate in the community’s longing for restoration and wholeness. Through our interactions with the residents, we have witnessed and grown to appreciate the stories, resilience, and unique giftings reflected in each individual. These are the reminders of how God has created us in His image. We all have an intrinsic value based solely on His love.
These times have reaffirmed God’s calling for Radiance to be a part of reconciliation in the Fillmore. As we move forward, we must be rooted in the importance of building relationships and not just programs. We ask that you join us in praying and listening to how God’s Spirit is leading us (Gal 5:16-26). As our church becomes the hands and feet of Jesus that serves and loves the Fillmore, we hope to expand our resources to bless the broader community of San Francisco. If you would like to learn more about the rich history of the Fillmore or get involved with the community, please fill out this form.
It is vital that we learn about Kingdom justice and understand how Jesus intersects with our current cultural climate. But our faith must be responsive. A faith that is moved by His heart will be moved into action (James 2:14-17). The areas below are only a starting point. We understand that Kingdom justice and reconciliation are part of the long journey that we are all called to. We hope and pray we will grow in our response as a church. With that in mind, please check back on this page periodically for updates.
Listen: A podcast interview with Cami King
Read: How Urban Renewal Destroyed The Fillmore In Order to Save ItView more resources
Wednesday night prayer (8pm - 9pm) (Zoom)
Friday morning prayer (8am - 9am) (Zoom)
Daily Morning Prayer Space (Mon-Thur, 7-7:30am) (Zoom)
Process and reflect in a Community Group
Rest in Christ with AMI quiet time devotionals
Engage: Get involved in the Fillmore
Serve: Build gospel relationships at the Fillmore Food Pantry.If you are interested in volunteering, please email RCCfoodbank_leaders@radiancesf.org!
Support: Local Black owned business and give to organizations fighting for justice such as the Equal Justice Initiative
The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby
White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White by Daniel Hill
American’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis
The Myth of Equality: Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege by Ken Wytsma
Oneness Embraced: Reconciliation, the Kingdom, and How We are Stronger Together by Tony Evans
Let Justice Roll Down by John Perkins
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Podcast with Cami King
Podcast focused on today’s issues within the African American Community from a Biblical View