January 16, 2021

In the U.S., Adventist Pastor and Family Are Victims of a Hate Crime

Rocky Mountain Conference, North American Division, and Adventist Review

Imagine coming home from church one evening to find hateful words spray-painted on your house. This is precisely what Oshaine Wynter discovered on Saturday (Sabbath), January 9, 2021.

Wynter, a resident of Aurora in Colorado, United States, is the pastor of New Community Church in Denver and Boston Street church in Aurora. Both congregations are within the Central States Conference, which partly overlaps with the Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC), and are within the Mid-America Union Conference in the North American Division.

Wynter said the whole situation has “been disappointing and sickening.” He further recalled the fear he felt when he saw those freshly painted words on his garage door, knowing his wife, six-month-old, and two-year-old were just a few feet away in the house. The pictures he posted on Facebook received swift comments of denunciation for the hate-filled words.

Comments on the Facebook post included, “I’m so sorry your wife, children, and yourself had to endure this terrible racist thing. Bro, please be safe and keep your family safe. This is unacceptable.”

Another posted, “No excuse for this cruelty! Prayers for your safety and a repentant heart for the perpetrators.”

After seeing the picture on Facebook, Jessyka Dooley, RMC assistant youth director, said, “This makes my blood boil. My heart goes out to Oshaine and his family. May we surround them with love in both our words and actions during this time.”

RMC president Ed Barnett said, “I am just appalled that racism is so apparent today in Denver. It just blows my mind.”

The Central States Conference vice president of administration, Cryston Josiah, echoed Barnett’s comment, saying, “He has our love and support fully. We do not condone attacks against him or anyone else.”

The police, notified of the event, confirmed to Wynter that hate speech in Aurora has been sharply increasing since the U.S. election in November 2020. The police continue to investigate this hate crime. Wynter said there is a new level of fearfulness among church members.

For safety reasons, Wynter and his family moved from their home. RMC pastors from Littleton and Franktown in the greater Denver region helped the Wynter family relocate on Sunday. The RMC youth department has also reached out to Wynter with the offer to assist with any needs his family may have in the aftermath of this crime.

Josiah added that “they have a lot of members [in the Central States Conference] who experience racism, and he [Wynter] is strong and resilient against racism.”

Barnett added that following a successful gathering sponsored by the Littleton and Denver Park Hill Adventist churches in October 2020, “the Rocky Mountain Conference continues to explore and hold conversations on how we can take a stand against racial injustice and promote solidarity among the ethnically diverse population that both conferences serve.”

The original version of this story was posted by the Rocky Mountain Conference and adapted by the North American Division news site.