By Rev. Dan Morley, North District Superintendent
A COURAGEOUS CHURCH:
Loving like Jesus
Acting for justice
United in hope.
How do you respond to such an outbreak of violence, hate, and racism as took place in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12? Perhaps it takes some time to think and process before a response? Yet, there are times an immediate response is needed in order to proactively influence a situation and let those in the path of violence know they are not alone.
If something has struck you to the core, and you desire to connect with the community of faith for direction, support, and action . . . what do you do? I received an email from someone in lay leadership in one of our churches, asking just that:
‘I’m with some people… well, there will be other people… mainly me at the moment… trying to organize . . .in support of peace and unity, in the wake of the events in Charlottesville.’
What can we do?
- Just what this faithful leader did — put out a notice seeking like-minded and like-hearted folks who want to connect.
- Draw upon your faith connections and begin to share prayers. Ask God for inspiration, direction, and courage. Seek God’s guidance.
- Use your social media platforms to put out positive messages about unity and peace. Invite others to join you in the life-giving prayers. Did you know that Instagram has an established policy and practice which seeks to promote and lift to the top those messages of hope and grace and sink to the bottom messages of hatred and violence?
- Set up a meet-up, asking those in your connection to gather for conversation about what has happened. You may not have answers or know how to respond, but just get together for some conversation and see if anything emerges regarding how you might respond to the injustice.
- Check out how the United Methodist Church may have already responded, or put out a communication on the topic (www.umc.org). Here is a communication from The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race: “Free speech and the ability to protest, while the right of every American, should not be used to terrorize, intimidate or incite violence. . .As Christians and United Methodists we believe in the right of all people to thrive as individuals undergirded by a society of laws rooted in our common humanity, our common good, in short — in the love and justice of God.”
What are your thoughts about how to respond to the violence in Charlottesville or in our neighborhoods? You are welcome to reply () with your thoughts. Let us be a Courageous Church – Loving like Jesus, Acting for Justice, United in Hope.
In Christ’s Service,