To our Lubbock Friends and Neighbors:
We, the undersigned members of St. John’s United Methodist Church in Lubbock, TX, recognize and lament the image and reputation that the global institutional Church has earned for itself with regard to diversity, inclusion, equity, and oppression. We understand that many could think all churches, even all Christians, share the same perspective regarding the role of holy scripture, our places of worship, and our beliefs about Jesus’ ministry and message to the world.
In the wake of the presidential press conference on June 1, 2020, we are compelled to distinguish our beliefs from the ways in which the president utilized tools of our Christian faith. Immediately following a White House speech in which he threatened military force against states that failed to take “dominating” action, President Trump directed police officers who used tear gas and rubber bullets to move peaceful protesters from the lawn of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. – prior to curfew, so that he could use the church sign and a bible as props for a photo opportunity. We find this repugnant to Christian teaching, manipulative, and offensive.
The bible is sacred text from which we seek wisdom and gather instruction and courage for living lives of justice, compassion, and peace – together, in community, throughout the world. Our churches are holy ground set apart for the community gathered in worship. Holding a bible and taking photos in front of a church as if a threatening posture is supported by the teachings of Jesus is blasphemy. The use of these tools of faith to elicit support for unChrist-like behavior is appalling. It prompted us to speak our truth and to offer a different message and an invitation to a different community.
Our faith calls us to love our neighbor as ourself and so all in-person worship is temporarily suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find our online worship services on Facebook and Youtube. Our faith calls us to love our neighbor as ourself and so we’re deeply disturbed by systemic racism and the ongoing oppression, violence, and murder of Black lives. While we value diversity, we acknowledge that the vast majority of our current St. John’s UMC family is White. We are committed to learning more, saying more, and doing more to help build a new human community in which oppressive structures are altogether absent and Black Lives Matter. We look forward to the day when we can return to in-person group gatherings for continuing education and ministry. Until then, we offer these online options for making a difference. We invite you to join us!
Show your support and sign this statement here.
View statement signatures here.
Implicit Bias: What We Don’t Think We Think a self-paced online course offered by the United Methodist Church’s General Commission on Religion and Race. Cost is $20
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Anti Racism Resouces
The Color of Change
Justice in June
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