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Statement and Prayer in Wake of Breonna Taylor Verdict

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A Statement of Faith, Hope, and Action, rooted in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, in response to the Breonna Taylor verdict 

 By Rev. Stacey Cole Wilson
Executive Minister of Justice and Service, Baltimore-Washington Conference

 To the church of God that is in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church including all the saints throughout the world:

Grace to you and peace from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God who created us as human bearers of God’s own image, the Creator of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort others in like measure.

We mourn with the family of Breonna Taylor and others yearning and crying out for justice this day. Our hearts break open and seek God’s face for directions that are enough to make real your will for us on earth as it is in heaven. It is from this place that we pray:

God, we thank you for the gift of your abiding presence. You are the most high God and Your power is unlimited. We uplift to you our collective pain, those who seek to uphold justice, those wondering when a change will come, those change-makers and peace-builders who understand the power of now, and those watching us and yearning for a better future. 

By the power of Your Holy Spirit, strengthen us and lead us to be agents of sacred witness. Let us stay engaged in the healing of the nations. Teach us how not to ignore, deny, minimize or dismiss the pain of members in our human family. Weep with us as we weep with one another. Bend your ear to us as we listen to one another. Lend your vision to us as we affirm the somebodiness of the other. Speak up for us as we speak up for human rights. Change us as we seek to change ourselves and those systems that oppress us and others. 

Our hope for You is unshaken; for we know that as You share in our human sufferings, so also You share in our consolation. You are the One who is able to keep us from falling. We are known by You. Strengthened by Your mercies that are renewed every morning, so guide us now. In the power of Your perfect Name and Jesus Christ our Savior, Amen.

The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us in 1967:

“…we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing‐oriented” society to a “person‐oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered…True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice, which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth…A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

 Rooted in our values of doing no harm, doing good and staying in love with God we are called to rise united and work so that all might be treated as sacred, worthy and equal as people created in the image of God.

 In light of all this, as people of faith we are called to speak and act in our communities consistent with Resolution 3379: Stop Criminalizing Communities of Color in the US and Resolution 5031: Humanizing Criminal Justice as named by Bishop Easterling and the Baltimore-Washington Conference in her Juneteenth Demands and included in the Commitment to Becoming an Anti-Racist Church.  For more resources, visit the BWC's Racial Justice page.

With the courage of God’s sustaining presence, we go.