Statement by Bishop Marcus Matthews in advance of Goodson verdict

June 22, 2016

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Tomorrow, June 23, will be another significant day in Baltimore and our region. As you may be aware, Circuit Judge Barry Williams will announce the verdict in the trial of officer Caesar Goodson Jr. of the Baltimore City Police Department.

Officer Goodson is one of the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died in police custody in April 2015.

In anticipation of this verdict, I am calling all United Methodists in the Baltimore-Washington Conference to a time of prayer for peace for the city and people of Baltimore. There are those in Baltimore who would seek to instigate violence if the verdict does not go as they deem appropriate. As people of faith, we need to be a calming, prayer-filled presence in our community. That does not mean we stop working and calling for justice, no. It means, guided by Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we work together, peacefully, with respect and dignity for all.

And so I invite you to lift up prayers for Judge Williams, for Officer Goodson, and for Freddie Gray’s family tonight and tomorrow morning. But mostly, I invite you to pray for the peace of the city of Baltimore, for in its welfare, we find our own (Jeremiah 29:7).

In Christ,
Bishop Marcus Matthews