Epic’s Response to the events at the Capitol building
January 15, 2021
We, the Epic Movement, grieve, mourn, and denounce the events that took place at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. We acknowledge this is a delayed response as we have been processing and lamenting this traumatic event. It was not only an attack on our democracy, it was also an affront to the name of Christ as Christian banners and paraphernalia were paraded throughout the Capitol. Along with these Christian symbols, confederate flags and anti-semitic apparel were flashed around freely in the Capitol. These disturbing images reveal the continual racial and political divide that exists in our country.
This insurrection frothed with racial, political and religious undertones induced deaths, injuries and trauma to our country. We as Christ followers declare that this is not Christianity. Our faith does not practice terrorism, racism, white nationalism, or following lies. Our spirituality demands us to shine a light on these evils as well as continue our commitment to be repairers or restorers of broken walls and to live out our calling as the ministers of reconciliation (Isaiah 58 & 2 Corinthians 5:18-20). As believers, we desire to share Christ’s radical love even as our witness is tainted by our own actions or lack of actions. We acknowledge that Christians throughout history have not been perfect, nor are we.While we abhor racism and extremist nationalism, we acknowledge that we too can conflate our own political views and desires for control due to change or our own desires for personal or political gain, oftentimes at the cost of others. We too can desire or demand so strongly our rights for ourselves while we fail to respect the dignity and the rights of others and especially those communities in the margins. We exhort each of us to continue with our allegiance to Jesus’ teachings to call us to forgiveness, standing for the oppressed, being slow to anger, mourning with those who hurt, loving God’s truth, and spurring one another to love and good deeds.
January 6, 2021 was a horrific day in our American history. It was also the Day of Epiphany in the Christian liturgical calendar, which celebrates the manifestation of Christ to the magi or wise men from far away countries who were searching for the truth and light of God. These wise men followed the light of the Bethlehem star and found Christ. On this day evermore, may we reclaim this traumatic day as a day of remembrance of our recommitment to live our lives daily to reflect the light of Christ to our diverse and broken world. May we guide people towards the love and light of Christ through our allegiance to Him first and foremost and not to lesser things such as our democracy, structures that hinder marginalized communities or our political parties. May we be a part of the solution to bring healing to our fragmented world through Christ our Lord. We in the Epic Movement affirm anew our resolve to surrender our lives and ministry to Christ alone; we renew our commitment to the ministry of reconciling people to God and to other people. May we live out His true light doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). Christ invites you to do the same.
Epic’s Statement of Solidarity
“Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy.”
June 2, 2020
As believers in Christ, we must be unflinchingly committed to the flourishing of all of God’s creation. We will not refuse to see the plight of another simply because it is not our plight. (Proverbs 31:8-9) In Epic, we express our belief in the interdependence of God’s creation by standing in solidarity with those whose position is one of vulnerability. We choose to take on the cares of our brothers and sisters and share those concerns when we enter places of influence or change. (Micah 6:8)
Several weeks ago, Epic leaders helped draft a statement against anti-Asian racism which was heightened by COVID-19. Now, we have watched as black Americans like Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have lost their lives due to racial violence. We condemn this racism and the ways our country has failed to affirm the worth of Black lives. (Proverbs 17:15) Seeing images of an Asian American police officer standing nearby fills us with anguish and, for some, confusion and deepens our commitment to every Asian American student. We work so that students and faculty who are involved in the Epic Movement experience holistic transformation as they yield their lives to the God of love and the God of justice, thus becoming agents of peace and unity in this broken & polarizing world.
For any of us, particularly for those of us who might be seeing the pervasive nature of racism for the first time, our bodies and minds can struggle to process what we see as we watch violent incident after violent incident. The pain and the resulting anguish it produces in us can be motivation to turn away, or to look for an underlying cause beyond our country’s history of oppression. Instead of turning away or becoming frozen in inaction, we want to turn our hearts toward the Lord and to pray for God’s spirit of perfect justice to indwell us and our communities. (Isaiah 58:6-9) In order to be committed to antiracist thought and action, we have to be supported by a strong spiritual base. Without taking time to cultivate our connection to God’s indwelling Spirit, our commitment will fade and we will be sapped of strength, rather than renewed.
Martin Luther King Jr. observed the way that God created human beings to be interdependent when he wrote,
“In a real sense all life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”
We in Epic commit to working for a world where all people are honored as image bearers, and we acknowledge that our hope is ultimately found only in Jesus Christ, God’s perfect bearer of truth and justice.
Epic Movement’s Response to Coronavirus
Dear Epic students, staff, and friends,
It is surreal watching the events of the last few months unfold around the world due to COVID-19. Every 12 hours more things change and more realities are imposed upon us. This past week, I have had such a range of emotions and thoughts as I process the effects of COVID-19 on our personal lives and our ministry. Epic Movement is in the midst of sorting through how we ought to respond as campus ministers.
Students and staff are grieving the loss of graduations, the pain of racism connected to COVID-19, and the uncertainty of existing plans. We are committed to encouraging all of us to seek the Lord as we learn a new way to minister to our students, faculty, and communities.
Prioritizing Spiritual and Emotional Connection
As Epic, we prioritize staying emotionally and spiritually connected to one another during this time of physical separation. We encourage all of us to adopt spiritual practices such as Christ-focused meditation, prayer and/or fasting, which many people have found helpful during times of unusual stress. Our staff are also praying for family members, students, alumni, and ministry partners. If you have a prayer request you’d like to share with our staff, you can submit it here.
Adjusting to the New Ministry Environment
We want to share that love and light of Christ through this critical time in history. More than ever, people need the hope that Jesus gives us and Epic is committed to continuing to share that hope with others in new and creative ways.
As universities move away from in-person gatherings, our teams are still building community and connecting their peers and friends to Jesus. One of our staff led a bible study via google docs (a real-time collaborative writing platform). They noted that some students were sharing insightful things that they normally would not share in a live setting. Others are focused on connecting via social media and even video games. Epic Movement is continuing to provide coaching and resources to help navigate this new season.
Making Difficult Decisions
Given how connected our Asian American communities are, we in Epic have to make decisions that will ensure that we are thinking about ministry for the long-haul, as well as practicing care for our families and neighbors.
Following governmental guidelines to help “flatten the curve,” Epic and Cru have canceled all large gatherings including all of our spring break trips, summer missions, and training conferences. Other events are postponed or have gone online. As you can imagine, this significantly changes the trajectory of all of our ministry worldwide. (Keep an eye out for further communication regarding the changes for our Epic National Vision Dinner and other events!)
We implore you to join us in lament, prayer, and seeking the Lord as this unprecedented time will have ramifications for Epic Movement for years to come. Pray that we can process this new reality well as a community and for the Gospel to go forth in our ministry in powerful new ways.
Epic Movement National Director
Psalm 121: A song of ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.