Day of prayer addresses racism
Indiana Area Bishop Julius C. Trimble told participants in an Aug. 8 National Day of Prayer that in spite of “social distancing” UM Men were not in “spiritual isolation.”
“With no prayer, there is no power,” said Bishop Trimble. “With little prayer, there is little power; and with much prayer, there is much power.”
Wallace Neal, host of the on-line gathering, said he will make frequent use of that saying as the national prayer advocate.
Following the 3-hour on-line gathering, sponsored by the North Central Jurisdiction, participants, agreed the Zoom event had much power.
Racism under veneer of niceness
Michigan Bishop David Bard said the killing of George Floyd reveals that “under a veneer” of Midwestern niceness there is lingering and persistent racism.
“We are seeing injustices and disparities that we find unacceptable for the way they stand in contrast to the vision of the beloved community,” said the bishop. “We know these present racial injustices are the result of a much longer history.”
In his final prayer, the bishop acknowledged, “We have not had the courage, the persistence, or the tenacity to root racism out of our communities.”
He prayed God would “work your work in us,” and help us “leave racism in the dustbin of history.”
Call to eliminate sexist behavior
Chicago Area Bishop Sally Dyck urged UM Men to live out their faith and to address sexist behavior.
She recalled how Florida Representative Ted Yoho referred to New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez using a sexist vulgarity.
Noting that their prayers must lead to action she called UM Men “to be respectful to women, even those with whom they disagree. . . “They must assume personal responsibility, moral responsibility and collective responsibility.”
Trauma among young men of color
The Rev. John Russell, a pastor at University UMC in Indianapolis, told the on-line meeting that 74 percent of young men of color experience trauma.
He told how he is routinely treated as an African-American.
“It is a weight we carry through life without knowing it,” he said. “I know I must be better than my counterpart in order to receive the same recognition.”
The pastor told how he was frequently pulled over by police when he drove a Buick Riviera, but he was not stopped when he drove a pick-up truck.
“It should not be the responsibility of the victim of racism to resolve it.”
Curtain ripped away
The past few months have ripped away a curtain revealing a deeply shameful, unacceptable reality that racism is a rampant reality,” said Wisconsin Area Bishop Hee Soo Jung. “Our whole country has been awakened to a painful reality.”
The bishop said Jesus “made it crystal clear that the best way to honor and serve him is to welcome the stranger, comfort the afflicted, feed the hungry and visit the prisoner.”
He lamented the fact that Christian have a long history of using passages of Scripture to justify racist behavior, but Jesus taught us to love our neighbor and through a parable he made it clear that “those who are hated and despised are our neighbors.”
“Every human being on earth bears the image of God,” said the bishop. When one part of the body is harmed we are all harmed. When George Floyd “can’t breathe,” we all can’t breathe.