At a conference in Berlin, 70 years after World War II, The United Methodist Council of Bishops issued a pastoral letter on racism to the 12.8 million people of The United Methodist Church affirming the sacredness of all lives and renewing their commitment to work for an anti-racist, pro-humanity church.
Racism is prejudice plus intent to do harm or discriminate based on a belief that one is superior or has freedom to use power over another based on race. . .
The evidence is overwhelming that race still matters, that racism is woven into institutional life and is problematic to communal health. This reality impacts every area of life – in the church and in the world. . .
We commit to lead, model and engage in honest dialogue and respectful conversation and invite people of faith everywhere to join us. Let us repent of our own racial bias and abuse of privilege. . .
We renew our commitment to work for a Church that is anti-racist and pro-humanity, believing that beloved community cannot be achieved by ignoring cultural, racial and ethnic differences, but by celebrating diversity and valuing all people.
For the complete letter, click here.
Our own bishop, Bishop John Schol, just returned from that conference in Berlin. In his pastoral letter, he writes
You cannot visit a concentration camp and ever be the same again. I plead with you that when you see prejudice and hatred in the world to do something. As a people of faith we are called to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God. – Micah 6:8.
Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I and United Methodists around the world grieve deeply about the impact of the earthquake in Nepal and the unrest in Baltimore. I call all of our congregations this weekend to pray for the people of Baltimore and Nepal. James 5:13-16 is a powerful scripture on prayer. It includes these lines: If any among us are suffering, pray… The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. The people of Nepal and Baltimore need the powerful and effective prayers of United Methodists.
In Nepal, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake has killed thousands and destroyed homes, buildings and communities. In Baltimore, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American male died while in police custody.
The earthquake in Nepal has shattered lives. We as United Methodists have already begun to mobilize relief and recovery efforts by raising money and supporting churches and local organizations in Nepal. The United Methodist Church began its work in Nepal 60 years ago when we partnered to open a clinic. Today we have five missionaries in Nepal and they and their families are all safe. Our recovery work for the people of Nepal will span many years and I invite you to be generous with your prayers and giving.
A string of deaths of African-American men by police officers has set many communities on edge. For eight years I was the bishop of the Baltimore-Washington Conference and I know the people and communities of Baltimore. It is a dynamic city with outstanding leaders and people. The violent protest in Baltimore is a struggle of larger issues of racism and poverty. There is fear that the system does not treat people equally. I call on United Methodists to pray for the family of Freddie Gray, the leaders and residents of Baltimore and for each of us to work toward healing the wounds of racism and poverty.
The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Let us pray for the people of Nepal and Baltimore. Let us work in our own communities to address the injustices of poverty and racism and to be good stewards of God’s creation.
Keep the faith!
John Schol, Bishop
The United Methodist Church
Greater New Jersey
“A Place for Everyone” is the title of our January sermon series at Princeton United Methodist Church. Rev. Don Brash begins the series on January 4 at both services. On January 11 at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Methodist Bishop John Schol, Episcopal leader for the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference, will share the biblical witness about how everyone has a place in the church.
The church has been reflecting on what it means to be a reconciling congregation with respect to its relationship with brothers and sisters in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. The reconciling congregation movement works for full participation in the United Methodist Church.
NJ.com (Times of Trenton) printed the news online and in print, click here.