June 8, 2020
Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) stands in solidarity with any and all who fight for equity in economy of politics and pocketbooks. We speak in support of individuals, families, neighborhoods, cities, and entities who now sound the bell that has never ceased to toll, but has fallen on deafened ears for over 400 years. We can no longer hold our tongues no more than we can hold our breath. We have told the world and the church of our weariness from the incessant injustices that result from wars on us and any efforts we engage to overcome centuries of abuse in this country.
We lament the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and every black body gunned down, lynched up, and choked out on the basis of how black people are viewed as threats and treated as property. Their deaths cannot be in vain. Their sacrifices cannot simply be relegated to the lengthening of the lists that seems to be without end. Police tactics in the United States of America must be changed to reflect that of entities set in place to serve and to protect, not to dominate and to destroy. Lawmakers must hold themselves to a higher standard and insist that the wars ravaging black and brown communities in this nation must end today. Church leaders must hold clergy and laity to a gospel that centers the voices of people of color and all those who are truly at risk for simply being present in this world.
Curfews curb the onslaught of damage to buildings and property, but they do little to instill calm in the hearts and minds of black people who live in fear that their lives have no more value than what a casket or a prison cell can bring. Buildings, buses, statues, and cars can all be replaced, but human lives cannot. When one’s breath ceases, so does their ability to fight for justice and equity. They can no longer exercise their right to vote. They can no longer contribute to the erasure of racism and white supremacy in the world. They can no longer raise their children or inspire other’s children to do and to be great contributors to society. When one’s breath ceases, those who feel their pain shout out with a voice of triumph and they keep shouting and marching until transformation is experienced.
As BMCR, we call on every member of every United Methodist Church, regardless of political or theological persuasion, to enact the following:- Write Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey ( ), President of the Council of Bishops, and General Conference Commission to research whether it’s safe and practical for the General Conference to meet in Minneapolis next year.- Call on your episcopal and conference leaders to convene a task force to address the reality and eradication of white supremacy in your areas. – Lobby your mayors, county supervisors, and police commissioners to appoint a permanent Office of Independent Counsel who will be charged with the duty of investigating police shootings and misconduct – with such findings to be made public and adjudicated as all other crimes are adjudicated within the criminal and civil court systems. – Hold voter registration drives and virtual candidate forums to disrupt and further understand how enemies of equity and righteousness rooted in the love espoused by Jesus is being propped up all around this country – in service of an economy that does not serve the needs of poor or sick people.- Pray for and support the Rev. Ronald Bell, Pastor, and Camphor United Methodist Church, the only Black UMC in Minnesota.- Acknowledge and support the youth and younger adults in our communities who are leading political actions both within and beyond the church.
It is time for The United Methodist Church and The United States of America to come to grips with the reality that black folks are not responsible for racism or white supremacy.
When our people die, we feel it and we react because of what history and experience has taught us. We know that when legalized slavery ended, Jim Crow took its place. When Jim Crow was slightly undermined, a war on drugs was sanctioned as a ruse for continuing enslavement and slaughter of black people. When the drugs moved beyond black and poor communities to the suburbs and C-Suites, the new deal became “law and order.” So, here we are in the midst of a global pandemic, a health crisis that mimics the atrocities of systemic racism, and thus, disproportionately impacts those same people and communities that slavery, Jim Crow, and these so-called wars impacted.
BMCR wants the world and the church to know that black people are not responsible for what is happening on the streets of America, we simply suffer because of it. At this point, we call on our siblings of all racial/ethnic groups to speak up and speak out, because your silence is heard all too often in times like these. While you do that, we will tend to our mission of “raising up prophetic and spiritual leaders who will be advocates for the unique needs of black people in the United Methodist Church” and beyond.
Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Inc.
Board of Directors