An Open Letter from the Westminster Image Bearing Committee
Dear Westminster Community,
In the time since his remarkable life and death, many leaders in the church have affirmed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s mission and vision as aligning with God's heart for the church and the world. John Piper, pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, draws from a variety of texts in his description of a multiethnic, diverse, unified body of Christ:
Christ created all things. He sustains all things. He bought a multi-ethnic people by his blood. He rose bodily from the dead, and he is making us one. All of this, not some of this, is his glory. Hold fast to the whole glory of Christ, you who are young. And God may grant that we who are older will look down from heaven and see better days (Piper).
The catalyst for the Image Bearing Committee was John Murray, Founder and President of Imago Dei Leadership. He spoke to the entire Westminster Schools of Augusta community, faculty, staff, board members, and students in January 2020 about the importance of truly reflecting God's image. The Committee is composed of administrators, faculty and staff members whose united goal is to ensure that Westminster best embodies our second core value. As a foundation of our Core Values, the second rests upon the idea that “every person is created in God’s image.” Mr. Murray challenged our staff to conduct an internal audit and answer if we are living out our school’s mission. Thus, the Westminster Image Bearing Committee was formed.
We as a Committee are committed to creating a positive change on the Westminster campus. We want all of our students to be heard and feel represented. This is a grand undertaking that is not easy to implement, and results are not instantaneous. Over the course of the last year, we met as a group, listened to each other, took suggestions, and prayed over our mission and goals. We placed an effort on making sure the members are equipped with the know-how to run our new Committee. Members attended the virtual symposium, Christian Educators Diversity Alliance, weekly from May 7 through June 30. This helped us learn from other schools and how they have and continue to work through social issues through a Christian lens.
With all that is going on the world, the Committee could not have been formed at a more opportune moment. Moving forward, we have established our end goals such as:
- allowing for forums to give students a voice
- structuring February programming blocks to center around Black History Month
- equipping our teachers to effectively discuss cultural diversity in a healthy and godly manner
- working with school counselors to assist in equipping students to handle cultural differences well
I am so excited about all that is happening behind the scenes with the Image Bearing Committee. I believe that our mission best aligns with Revelation 7:9, which paints a glorious picture of a future in which 'a great multitude that no one [can] count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, [stands] before the throne and before the Lamb,' praising him in our beautifully diverse unity. Westminster has the heart behind this mission, and the Image Bearing Committee is working to put these ideas into practice.
- Christine Zhang, Middle School English Teacher
Now more than ever during times of uncertainty and political unrest, we must keep our focus on Jesus and see all God's children as His image-bearers. We started an Image Bearing curriculum in the 8th grade last school year, created an "OK to be Really...” month of chapel talks in October, launched a Gender, Race, Ability, Culture, and Economic status (G.R.A.C.E.) Forum last fall, and developed a Westminster board-approved political party campaign policy. I am excited that Westminster's core values challenge us all to see everyone as true image-bearers of our Heavenly Father, distinctively different and created for a specific purpose.
- Brian Case, Head of School
As we look forward to the future we are excited to see how God will work in and through the Image Bearing Committee. Please join us in prayer as we endeavor to educate ourselves and our community about what it means to be an image-bearer of God.
Westminster Image Bearing Committee