An Open Letter to the Honorable Betsy Price, Mayor of Fort Worth ©

In the early morning of October 12th a young African-American woman, Atatiana Jefferson was shot through a window while standing in her own home by a White police officer responding to a non-emergency (“welfare”) call from a concerned neighbor. The following blog is an open letter to Mayor Betsy Price of Fort Worth, Texas in response to the tragic shooting of Atatiana Jefferson and the larger issues of institutional racism which undergird this tragedy .  - Bishop Mike Lowry

To the Honorable Betsy Price, Mayor of Fort Worth, Texas:

We are a wounded community. The needless and senseless killing of Atatiana Jefferson in her home on October 12, 2019 cries out for both justice and reform. The tragic and unjust police shooting of a peaceful African-American citizen by a police officer is not an isolated incident. The horror of her death must be seen in the wider context of racism in our home city of Fort Worth as well as across the United States. 

  • The trial of Amber Guyger for the murder of Botham Jean in neighboring Dallas highlights the ongoing impact of racism and the tendency of some police officers to see people of African-American descent as probable criminals rather than citizens who need the protection, which should be extended to all.
  • In 2016 David Collie, an African-American, was shot by police officers while walking away.
  • Jacqueline Craig, an African-American mother, was arrested for complaining about a man (an Anglo neighbor) who choked her 7-year-old daughter.
  • There have been multiple police-related shootings this year which raise serious questions about excessive use of force, especially directed towards people of color. The cry of “Black Lives Matter” reflects the pain and perception (supported by numerous studies and investigations) that while all lives matter, racism in America and especially in law enforcement has all too often led to behavior that sends the exact opposite message.

These are but a few of the examples which lead me to believe we must confront the systemic nature of institutional racism in our city as well as our country. Click here to read the remainder of the letter.

 

 

A Call for Prayer & Action in Central Texas Conference Communities

In the wake of a deadly shooting involving Fort Worth police, Bishop Lowry released the following statement, in which he calls for prayer and encourages Central Texas Methodists to not stop there, but to put their prayers into action and become intimately involved in their local communities.
Bishop Mike Lowry, Central Texas Conference 

 

Like so many others across the Greater Fort Worth area, our state and nation, I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the recent circumstances that led to the tragic death of Atatiana Jefferson. To followers of Christ, Black lives matter, and, in light of this grievous incident, I am asking United Methodists in the Central Texas Conference, as well as people of faith everywhere, to join me in praying for Ms. Jefferson’s family, the city of Fort Worth and everyone involved in this heartbreaking situation.

 

But I ask that we as a people of faith do more than pray. Prayer is where we begin, not where we end. As such, I invite all to put their prayers into action through vigorous community engagement. Each community of faith in our conference is expected to be intimately and actively involved in the issues that matter in their particular mission field. The local churches of the Central Texas Conference simply must reach out to everyone with love, justice and mercy, regardless of ethnic, economic or social status. Engaging with our community is the heart of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. By being in active ministry and partnership with all members of their community (not just those they see on Sunday mornings), including people of color and local law enforcement, along with other city officials, we can more effectively address the issues that impact our communities as part of our efforts to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. May the peace of Christ constantly rule our hearts and minds, especially during the upcoming days and weeks as all the facts of this tragic event unfold.
 

United Methodist Bishops of Texas Call for Swift, Non-Partisan Solutions to Unfolding Humanitarian Border Crisis 

July 15, 2019

In response to ongoing humanitarian crisis along the United States southern border, and particularly along the Texas border, the episcopal leaders of the five United Methodist Conferences in Texas are calling for state and federal government officials to set aside party politics and deliver a solution which best reflects the fundamental values of Americans and Christians.

 

Bishop Mike Lowry, episcopal leader of the Central Texas Conference, recently reminded that we are all called as Christians and Americans to reach out in love to our sisters and brothers in need. Click here to read the full text of the statement.

 

Bishops Call for Prayers for Judicial Council 

April 23, 2019
The Council of Bishops is inviting the people of The United Methodist Church to be in prayer for the Judicial Council (photo left), which is in session this week. The Judicial Council will be discussing the constitutionality of matters related to the Special Session of the General Conference held in February. “In our residential areas, in the midst of voices we have heard around these decisions and for the sake of the whole church, we lift these elected members of the Judicial Council in prayer, as the events of this week help us to take the next step as people who seek to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God (Micah 6. 8),” Bishop Ken Carter, President of the Council of Bishops said in a letter released today. Click here to read the full text of Bishop Carter’s letter.
 

Bishop Lowry Calls for Prayer Following Deadly Easter Bombings in Sri Lanka

April 22, 2019
As many Christians in the western world awoke Sunday morning and prepared to celebrate the risen Lord, they were greeted with a sad reminder that we live in a fallen world desperate for the love and peace of Christ as the news that nearly 300 people lost their lives and hundreds more were wounded following a series of bombings in Sri Lanka. Upon learning of the tragic events unfolding in the predominately Buddhist island nation, Bishop Lowry called on the people of the Central Texas Conference and Christians everywhere to pray. “As we confront the continuing evil of terrorism in today’s world, may we remember the victims of the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka,” Bishop Lowry stated. “Our Risen Lord reminds us that these too are beloved by God. Read more here or by clicking the title above.
 

Bishop Lowry Announces Changes to the CTC Cabinet

Feb. 10, 2019

Rev. Travis Franklin has been appointed to be new senior pastor at First UMC Grapevine; Rev. Louis Carr will succeed Travis as North District Superintendent effective March 1. Dr. Randy Wild will remove the interim tag and permanently assume the role of East District Superintendent on July 1. Click here or on the title above to read the full details.