Clergy come together in letter on equality and justice

SELINSGROVE – Clergy in the Valley have come together to speak out and issue a letter concerning the death of George Floyd. Rev. Dr. Dietmar Plajer of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Selinsgrove, joined 49 other signatories, in a published letter saying they feel for and speak up for Mr. Floyd and for all those who have been brutalized and killed by excessive, cruel police force, “The call to recognize that and to look that in the face of others, that in no matter whose face we look, there is a sister, there is a brother. And, to look for that and recognize that.”


Pastor Dietmar says the intent of the letter was to raise awareness and acknowledge that we are all in this together and we are created equal. He says we can be very intentional in befriending and connecting with people who are different than we are, “I’m a white male here in Central Pennsylvania and I do not know what feels like to be an African American here in Selinsgrove. So the call on me is to befriend people who are different than I am right here in Snyder County, right here in Selinsgrove.


Pastor Diemar says we need to take the awareness and personal connections and translate that into action, “How can we ensure in our institutions, in our society, in our community, that we actually live what we believe deep down in our hearts. So, we believe deeply we’re equal. How do we translate that into policies, into community, and into lifting each other up.”


The full letter is posted here:

As people of faith, we affirm that life is sacred. Life comes from God and belongs to God. Every human being reflects the beauty, value, and goodness of our Creator. Each of our Holy Scriptures describes the breath of life as God’s gift. God breathes life into every human being. As people of faith, we are called to respect and value all life and to live together as sisters and brothers in peace and harmony.

On Memorial Day, George Floyd, who was black, pleaded for his life, “I can’t breathe,” while the white Minneapolis Police Officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled with his full body weight on Mr. Floyd’s neck for an agonizing eight-plus minutes. Mr. Floyd gasped for air and begged for his life. He was crushed, suffocated and died.

We feel for and speak up for Mr. Floyd and for all those who have been brutalized and killed by excessive, cruel police force. As people of God and as fellow citizens, we assert that we can do better, we must do better! Our faith, our Holy Scriptures, our common humanity, our ideals and values demand it.

As people of faith, we stand in solidarity with those who are marginalized, disenfranchised, and suffering. We grieve with those who grieve. We commit ourselves to work toward equality and justice for all and especially for people of color. We affirm that life is sacred and that every human being is of eternal value.

We commit ourselves to respecting every person and to working toward God’s beloved community. We seek to befriend persons who look, who believe, and who vote differently than we do. We commit to reaching out to and befriending police officers and engaging in honest and open conversations with them.

George Floyd pleaded for his life, “I can’t breathe!” We invite you to join us as people of faith and people of goodwill in lending your voice to Mr. Floyd and to the countless others whose voices were and are being silenced. Let us together work for justice, peace and understanding and become the “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Let us together live up to that commitment!

Rev. Jonathan P. Albright

Sobhi Ammar, president,

Sunbury Islamic Center

Sonia Ammar,

Faculty, Bloomsburg University

Rev. DiAnn Baxley,

United Church of Christ

Rev. Randall G. Bennett Jr.,

Christ Community United Methodist Church

Rev. David Dearing

Rev. Robert Doll,

Sharon Lutheran Church, Selinsgrove

Canon Paul C Donecker,

All Saints Episcopal Church, Selinsgrove

Rev. Sally Dries,


Rev. Jean Eckrod,

Salem United Church of Christ

Rev. Stephen Engelhardt,


Rev. Ann Keeler Evans,

Minister, UU Congregation of the Susquehanna Valley

Rev. Ryan Gephart,


Rev. Tammy S. Gessner,

Richfield United Church of Christ

Rev. Jillian Hankamer,

First Baptist Church, Lewisburg

Rev. Jackie Heitmann,

Chaplain, Evangelical Comm. Hospital

Rev. William Henderson,

Christ’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lewisburg

Pastor Timothy Hogan-Palazzo,

Saint Paul’s UCC, West Milton

Armenta Early Hinton, PhD

St. Pius X Catholic Church, Selinsgrove

Todd Hummel

St. John’s UCC, Lewisburg

Rev. Joseph Lingenfelter

Pastor Ruth Liples

Rev. Scott Kershner

Rev. Kathleen Kinney,

Coal Township

Rabbi Nina H. Mandel,

Congregation Beth El, Sunbury

Rev. Fr. Tukura Pius Michael, OP

Pastor, St. Pius X Catholic Church, Selinsgrove

Rev. Kurt Nelson, Chaplain,

Bucknell University

Pastor Gary Nottis,

St. Luke’s UCC, Lock Haven

Carol Parowski,

St. Pius X Catholic Church

Rev. Dr. Dietmar Plajer,

St. Paul’s UCC, Selinsgrove

Rev. Amelia A. Price,

United Church of Christ

Rev. Michael A. Price, president,

Central Association of The Penn Central Conference, United Church of Christ

Rev. Alice Rauch,

St. John’s UCC, Lewisburg

Morgan Richards, LMFT

Doug Richards, MAMFT

Rooted Relational Therapy, Mifflinburg

Rev. Michael Romig,

Retired Pastor

Rev. Doug Schader,

Pastor of Paradise United Church of Christ, Milton and Trinity United Church of Christ, Turbotville

Deacon Gary Schaeffer,

St. Matthews Lutheran Church, Shamokin Dam

Rev. Stina Schaeffer

Rev. Mary Schmotzer,

Shiloh UCC, Danville

Pastor Lynn Smoyer,

First Reformed Church, Sunbury

Rev. Dr. Robert Stoudt,

United Church of Christ

Rev. Michael Swimley

Rev. Sharon VonBlohn,

United Church of Christ

Contract Chaplain for State of PA

Rev. Bill Foss, Lead Pastor,

Selinsgrove Nazarene Church

Rev. Brad Walmer,

New Covenant UCC, Williamsport

Rev. Sarah L. Weedon,

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Lewisburg

Rev. Rick White

Pastor Leah Williams,

Beaver Memorial United Methodist Church, Lewisburg

Rev. Daniel Wilt,

St. Paul’s UMC, Lewisburg

Rev. Curtis H.E. Zemencik

Rev. Ann Zimmerman,

ELCA, retired


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