President Lambert Shares a Prayer of Repentance for Racial Injustice

sun shining through leaves and flowers of a poplar tulip tree
Lake Lambert, Ph.D.
Lake Lambert, Ph.D.

Members of the Hanover Community,

Yesterday our students, faculty and staff joined together for an interfaith service of lament and repentance in response to the brutal deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many other African Americans who have been the victims of unjust police violence and the continuing American legacy of institutional racism. I participate in this service because, as a Christian and as person of privilege and power, it is my responsibility to confess, to speak and to lead.

I speak to not only condemn these senseless killings but also to confess my complicity in them; I speak, but know I must listen even more to the voices of the victims; and as the president of this college, I have a special responsibility to lead Hanover to a new way of being.

This is the prayer that I shared at the conclusion of yesterday’s service:

Holy God, hear my prayer and give us strength –

That we be more than “not racist” but actively anti-racist;

That we be more than non-violent but workers for a just peace;

That we be more than nice but loving siblings of a common humanity;

That we say more than “all lives matter” but specifically that “black lives matter”;

That we do more than love our college as it is but love our college into what it needs to become;

That we do more than confess our personal sins but personally confess the institutional sins of which we are complicit and by which we benefit; and

That we may turn—turn and live differently, turn and hear the unheard, turn and build new, turn so that your will is our own and so that your will be done.

There is much work to do — in our nation, in our communities and at Hanover College. I believe in the power of prayer, but I also believe President Kennedy’s words to be true that “here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.” And as I stated in my last message, the time is now for us to begin that work together.

Lake Lambert, Ph.D.