When they met in retreat in December 2014, the Florida Conference Cabinet released “A Statement of Faith and Hope in a Time of Racial Injustice.” It is re-posted today in light of recent violent events.
We offer prayers for all the persons who were wounded and whose lives were lost this week. May God comfort them and grant all of us courage in the days to come.
December 12, 2014
The statement is the fruit of prayer, searching the scriptures and listening to our communities. It is offered to the church for conversation and dialogue, and in the hope that it will be shared in worship across the annual conference in the season of Advent. Bishop Ken Carter offered the additional hope that these words "would be consecrated by God, and that our lives and congregations would be transformed into instruments of justice, reconciliation, mercy and healing." The statement speaks to recent events surrounding the deaths of unarmed young black males across our nation.
A Statement of Faith and Hope in a Time of Racial Injustice
From the Cabinet to the Churches and Extension Ministries of the Florida Conference,
United Methodist Church
• We affirm that every person is created in the image of God.
• We acknowledge our complicity in the sin of racism, which denies the inherently sacred nature of every person.
• We confess that we have often allowed our ideological differences to become more important than our unity in the One Body.
• We repent of our temptation to live in fear of one another and to seek security apart from God.
• We claim the essential need for all Christians of privilege to listen and seek deeper understanding when our brothers and sisters cry out for justice.
• We commit ourselves to speak on behalf of those who are denied justice.
• We support the difficult work of those in law enforcement and at the same time seek ways of moving toward better community engagement.
• We pledge to address the problem of mass incarceration of young black males in our society.
• We pray in our own time for the fulfillment of the prophecy given to Zechariah on the first Advent:
By the tender mercy of our God
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
The Florida Conference Cabinet Members: Bishop Ken Carter, Rev. David Dodge (Assistant to the Bishop), Russ Graves (Conference Lay Leader), Rev. Gary Spencer (AC District), Rev. Annette Stiles Pendergrass (EC District), Rev. John Powers (GC District), Rev. Sue Haupert-Johnson (NC District), Rev. Tim Smiley (NE District), Rev. Bob Gibbs (NW District), Rev. Walter Monroe (SC District), Rev. Craig Nelson (SE District), Rev. Rini Hernandez (SW District), Rev. Sharon Austin (Director of Connectional Ministries), Rev. Wayne Wiatt (Director of Clergy Excellence), Rev. Clarke Campbell-Evans (Director of Missional Engagement), Mickey Wilson (Treasurer)
Photo courtesy Bigstock.