The past few weeks since the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, Minn., have left many in our country hurt, outraged and downtrodden. Several United Methodist bishops have issued statements against systemic racism and begun to take steps to eradicate it from our society. Last week, via his blog and a powerful video message, Bishop Lowry asserted that it is time for all people called Christian to move beyond praying and into action against racism. “…we cannot simply shake our heads, dash off a quick prayer and move on. Faithful prayer propels us to action. Combating racism, both individual and institutional, is a part of our Wildly Important Goal to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. If our mission is to make disciples and we have not addressed racism, we ourselves are not disciples and we are not making disciples.”
This week, the United Methodist Council of Bishops (COB), via a statement issued by COB President Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, issued a call for every United Methodist to reclaim their baptismal vows to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves, and “to use our voices, our pens, our feet and our heart for change.”
“We ask every United Methodist to name the egregious sin of racism and white supremacy and join together to take a stand against the oppression and injustice that is killing persons of color,” said Bishop Harvey in the statement.
The bishops said they are joining with other church leaders and boards and agencies of the United Methodist Church to add strength to the message that “we will no longer remain silent nor complicit but must act now!”
As part of the that pledge, all United Methodists are asked to pray for 8 minutes and 46 seconds (the time the officer held his knee on George Floyd’s neck) for at least the next 30 days at 8:46 a.m. and p.m. “Pray for all persons of color who suffer at the hands of injustice and oppression,” stated Bishop Harvey on behalf of the COB. “Pray for our church as we take a stand against racism.”
“Let our praying propel us into action,” reminded Bishop Lowry. “Lord, help us build your kingdom here ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’”
Click here to read the full statement from the Council of Bishops.