Prayer and Fasting + Recommended Resources
Open Letter to Our Community
Dear HCAS community,
Like many of you, we have been deeply shaken by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and the underlying problems of racial injustice they represent. Statements issued by many organizations, as well as protests in different cities, testify to a widely perceived need to address systemic injustice. The Harvard Christian Alumni Society exists to “connect God’s people to do God’s work.” We join with the broad community of believers in speaking out against racism as sinful, seeking an end to specific and chronic injustice against people of color, and desiring Christ-like reconciliation.
As disciples of Christ, we are called to actively engage the issues of our time. Apathy is not an option. How relevant is the Gospel to a watching world if the body of Christ does not help shine His grace and truth during times of crisis? As we seek to respond with Christ-honoring words and deeds that are thoughtful, prayerful, and reflect God’s command to love our neighbors, we would like to share a few thoughts and invite yours.
As Christians, we share an understanding that all humans have equal dignity and worth as persons created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28), that Christ died on the cross to redeem people from every nation, tribe and tongue (Revelation 5:9), and that we are accountable to the Father for how we treat one another (Ephesians 6:9). We also share an understanding that seemingly intractable societal problems, including hatred, injustice, greed and oppression, are deeply rooted in the brokenness caused by human sin, but Jesus’ life, death and resurrection also offers to every person His call to repent, His command to be reconciled to enemies, and His power to live a new life (Ephesians 2:14-16). Further, the God whom we worship clearly condemns injustice and oppression. God sees the troubles of the afflicted, listens to their cries, and intervenes on behalf of the oppressed (Psalm 10:14-18). Based on these understandings, and recognizing that many of us may already be responding through our churches, affiliated institutions, and communities, HCAS would like to offer three next steps for moving forward as a Christian alumni community.
First, we will be hosting two Webex Prayer and Fasting sessions. We have been meeting weekly for prayer since March as the COVID-19 situation worsened. It has meant a lot to connect with Christian students, faculty and alumni across 5 continents, to pray for each other, for Harvard and for the needs of the world. Let us come together as a body of Christ, to humble ourselves, to mourn and confess our sin as a country, and to seek God’s face in a special way. For those who feel called to participate, fasting is one of the ways we may choose to wait upon God in prayer.
HCAS in Prayer (Webex)
• June 27 Saturday @ 10:00 am (Eastern), 7 am (Pacific), 10 pm (Singapore)
• July 25 Saturday @ 10:00 am (Eastern), 7 am (Pacific), 10 pm (Singapore)
Webex Link: https://hcas-fuy.my.webex.com/hcas-fuy.my/j.php?MTID=mef3eebb64356fd2fb8ca4f5c746a7f4e
Meeting number (access code): 916 270 078
Meeting password: Veritas (8374827 from phones and video systems)
US Dial In: (650) 215-5227
Second, with the publication of this open letter on our HCAS website, we invite members to engage issues through reflection, prayer, discussion, deep listening, and the prayerful discernment of God’s call. We are in the process of planning a future HCAS Connect conversation on the subject of racial injustice. Please follow our Facebook page and visit our website, where we will update HCAS members as details become available.
Third, as we come together to pray, reflect, and listen deeply, many of us will feel called to action. Our intention is to be constructive, rather than divisive, to listen more than explain, and to mutually discern rather than debate. Recognizing that there is a wide range of viewpoints shaped by social and cultural milieu, our hope is to focus on our common faith and the One we serve. We offer (annexed) some practical resources for consideration and welcome other suggestions you may have. Updates to this list will be posted on the HCAS website.
As we embark on this journey together, we believe and declare that Christ is able to redeem and transform the brokenness of our communities, nations, and the world. We affirm our commitment to love, pray, speak, learn, and act as Christ-bearers where we live. The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi expresses this well, and we share it as a closing reflection.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness joy
Harvard Christian Alumni Society
Board of Directors
Jordan Monge Gandhi
Oriana Li Halevy
Poh Lian Lim Yap
As Christians, we commend the study of Scripture as a foundational resource for our approach to the fight against injustice. We also invite the HCAS community to recommend other readings relevant to the issues. For example, some of our board members have found the following books helpful in their journey:
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Bryan Stevenson)
Welcoming Justice: God’s Movement Toward Beloved Community (Charles Marsh & John Perkins)
Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores (Dominique Gilliard)
We welcome other suggestions you may have, and offer some practical steps for your consideration:
Engage in conversations with friends, family, colleagues, or churches, to listen deeply to the experiences of black & Latino communities.
Sign 2020 Statement
Sign the AND Campaign’s 2020 Statement (https://andcampaign.org/2020)
We advocate for non-violent resistance against evil. Peaceful civil protests can serve as a public call for change. To be meaningful and effective, they should be combined with sustained advocacy for change in policies & systems.
Local Criminal Justice Elections
Get involved in local elections and connect with criminal justice candidates (judges, prosecutors). Make clear that criminal justice reform is an issue you consider when you vote. Advocate for legislative reforms.
Police and Community Relations
Encourage police officers seeking to engage their communities in healthy ways. Write and meet with the local Police Officers Association to hear their concerns. Let them know that your community’s support includes accountability for standards of conduct that protect all of the community they serve, including different racial groups.
Reunion Virtual Meeting
We will be hosting a virtual reunion on Saturday, May 30th at 11am PT / 2pm ET. We invite everyone who would be attending reunions this year to join us.
|Date / Day||May 30 (Saturday)|
|Time||9 pm (ET)|
|Meeting number (access code)||919 411 870|
|Meeting password||Harvard (4278273 from phones and video systems)|
|US Dial In||(650) 215-5227|
We are organizing a monthly event series, called HCAS Connect. These are planned as 1-hour real-time gatherings by Webex video-conference which HCAS members across the world can attend using an internet connection.
|Date / Day||June 13, 2020 (Saturday)|
|Time||10:00 am (EST)|
|Speaker||Professor Tyler Vanderweele|
|Session Title||Religious Community and Human Flourishing|
|Description||Tyler J. VanderWeele, Ph.D., is the John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology in the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Director of the Human Flourishing Program and Co-and Director of the Initiative on Health, Religion and Spirituality. He will be speaking to us about his recently published research that found religious attendance is linked to lower rates of “deaths of despair” (suicide, drug overdose, and alcohol poisoning).|
To register for this event, please fill out this form.
Global Networking Night
On January 15, HCAS co-hosted a number of HAA-sponsored Global Networking Nights, including in Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley. Thank you for everyone who helped out!
Open Letter to President Bacow Regarding Pusey Minister Search
As some of you may know, Harvard recently formed a Search Committee for the next Pusey Minister to replace Rev. Jonathan Walton. As part of our mission to strengthen Christian communities throughout the University, we want to support them in this search.
We ask you to join us in praying for the Search Committee, that they would promptly identify a suitable replacement to serve as a professor of Christian morals to shepherd Harvard’s students.
The search information can be found on the Memorial Church website here. Thoughts and nominations on the search can be addressed to President Bacow by email to memorialchurchsearch@harvard.
Here is the letter from our board to the search committee encouraging them to seek out a minister of genuine Christian faith. If you know anyone who qualifies for the position, we encourage you to nominate them. If you wish to be considered for the position yourself, please let us know and we may arrange a nomination. As always, we welcome questions and input to contact@