We live in difficult and challenging times. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more than 4,000,000 people infected and nearly 300,000 deaths worldwide. In the United States alone, the numbers are unfathomable as is the suffering too many have endured. As the statistics emerge, we recognize that this terrible disease particularly hits hard amongst people of color. In addition to other contributing factors, we also recognize that those most vulnerable: the elderly, the poor and people of color have a harder time with access to quality healthcare than others enjoy. This reality and the recent killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, is a stark reminder of how deeply racism is entrenched in our society’s systems and beliefs.
We acknowledge the impulse to remain silent at a time such as this when people are understandably craving good news and searching for glimmers of hope. And yet, the biblical tradition of the Prophets and the historic witness of the Church of Jesus Christ requires that we not stand silent in the face of injustice and inequality, even at difficult moments. Indeed, at a time such as this it is essential that all people of faith unite in rejecting the racism that took Mr. Arbery’s life, and the systemic racism that inflicts illness and death on those society has deemed expendable. Thus, the Church and Society Committee of Barrington United Methodist Church asks that you join with our Bishop, the General Secretary of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, the General Secretary of the General Commission on Religion and Race, our pastors and the members of our committee by adding your name to this letter of protest and solidarity.
“We the undersigned members and constituents of Barrington United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church of West Dundee do hereby condemn the killing of Ahmaud Arbery and urge that those responsible for his death be brought to full and impartial justice—the kind often denied to those who are marginalized in our society. Further, we urge that people of faith at every level of the United Methodist Church recognize, resist, and actively work to dismantle the systems of racism that so long have plagued our country. The United Methodist Church’s Social Principles name racism as sin and state that racism ‘is antithetical to the gospel itself.’ (¶162A). It is our profound prayer that this be a time when we will go beyond empty rhetoric and begin to actively work for the full inclusion and respect that should be afforded to every child of God.”
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A note from the authors of this statement: "It is with great sadness and outrage that we must acknowledge that racism has once again scarred our nation. Thus we deplore the brutal tactics employed in the arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis, tactics that resulted in his death while in police custody."
Bishop Sally Dyck
BUMC Leadership Council
Rev. Darneather Murph-Heath
Rev. Chris Winkler
Rev. Wendy A. Witt
Rivera José Orlando
Mannis Wesley, Jr.