UM Men take journey to eradicate racism
Three hours of prayers
Scores of men and a few women from across the nation joined in three-hours of prayer and meditation during a June 13 national day of prayer, sponsored by UM Men of the Northeastern Jurisdiction.
Wallace Neal, president of the National Association of Prayer Advocates served as host for the on-line gathering.
‘We are on a journey of eradicating racism,” said Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Bishop Peggy Johnson. “”We need to acknowledge white privilege and take a firm stand as a denomination about these issue. We have to keep the pressure on and do the next faithful thing instead of moving on to the next flavor of the month.”
Mississippi Bishop James Swanson Sr., president of the General Commission on UM Men, asked God to take “what looks like defeat and turn it into total victory; take what looks like the breaking of the spirit and turn it into the transforming of our lives.
We are not asked to be color blind
Hank Dozier, former president of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of UM Men, said some people have a “gross misunderstanding” of Paul’s letter to the Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
He said some people think the passage calls for us to act as if we should be color blind, but racism is the original sin and we need to condemn attitudes of white supremacy. “The effort must be led and accompanied by prayer and concrete action.”
Call for spiritual healing
Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the General Commission on UM Men, says all souls are wounded, and he asked God to “heal all those who are broken hearted.” Noting the fact that because of the color of his skin he has advantages denied to people of color, Gil says he has done “some confessing” and asked how many participants have done the same in the light of recent events.
The Rev. Dr. Rick Vance, director of the Center for Men’s Ministries with the commission, said forgiveness from God demands some action from us. He suggested that while much attention is given to “sins of commission,” more attention should be given to “sins of omission.”
Arkansas Bishop Gary Mueller, vice-president of the commission, said “on my best days, I still mess up.” He prayed that God’s will would become a reality in his life and not his will. “We need get our self out of the way and become utterly dependent upon God.”