Dear Vanguard Community,
On this Pentecost Sunday, I write to you deeply saddened and aware of the pain felt by the black community across the United States. For too many of our African American sisters and brothers, the killing of George Floyd is another tragic emblem of enduring racial injustice in our nation. Seeing through the anarchic opportunism of those who would use this tragedy for destructive purposes, we are witnesses to lament and demands for justice in communities across America and it is important to reflect on how Vanguard will respond.
As the president of Vanguard University, I am compelled to say to our African American students, faculty and staff that we acknowledge your pain and that you are deeply valued and loved by our community. We stand together with you in the shared pursuit of justice and equality.
As a Christian University, we affirm the image of God in one another and reject racism and abhor violence against other human beings and communities. We emulate Jesus Christ who through His blood broke down the dividing wall of hostility separating individuals, groups, and communities and we work to achieve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
As a Pentecostal University, we are committed to racial inclusion and racial reconciliation as a central component of the Holy Spirit’s outpouring experienced on the first Day of Pentecost, during the Azusa Street Revival, and today.
As a Minority-Serving Institution, the richness of our cultural and ethnic diversity is our strength and by God’s grace we are positioned to be an epicenter of joyful Christian living, racial harmony, and interethnic healing to our region.
Therefore, we are committed to a moral and pastoral call to justice, peace and hope to meet this moment. We will continue our pursuit of a Christ-centered learning environment that is free of racism and prejudice. We will work to find new ways to create space and courageous conversations for students and staff of color on our campus.
We stand firm on our faith in Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word; we are unwavering in our reliance upon the Holy Spirit to sustain and empower those who are weak and hurting among us; and we remain committed to preparing all students to live out their calling and Christian witness in this diverse, complex and polarized society.
May we all have the courage to run with endurance the race set before us; doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God (Hebrews 12:1; Micah 6:8).
Serving with you,
Michael J. Beals, Ph.D.