Our Response to the Death of George Floyd
Dear Friends:

Our hearts are breaking. 

Once again, the sin of racism and senseless violence has rocked our community. We are angry, frustrated, and deeply grieved by the senseless killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd.  We condemn this senseless and cowardly act of violence perpetrated by former police officers of the Minneapolis Police Department, and call for justice and an end to all acts of police brutality. 

As people of faith who are called to love one other and bear each other's burdens, we pray for George Floyd's family and our community. May the Spirit comfort us and strengthen us in our grief. May our collective anger and grief lead us to greater courage, awareness, and resolve to end the persistent and systemic racism and oppression that plagues our city and nation.   

Below is a joint statement from the Downtown Interfaith Clergy. Now and always, we stand in solidarity with the marginalized and the oppressed, who are beloved by God, and by our faith communities.

Many of you have expressed feelings of outrage, sadness, horror, and helplessness in your conversations with us. We share those feelings, and we invite you to channel your grief into action . Below are details of three opportunities to do work for racial justice , within ourselves and in community with others. Please commit to doing this work, and to acting on behalf of those who are vulnerable to racism, oppression and violence.

With blessings of strength to you all,

Pastor Judy and Pastor Frenchye
Every Human Being is Our Neighbor:
A Statement from the Downtown Interfaith Senior Clergy

We, the Downtown Interfaith Senior Clergy, condemn the May 25th killing by a police officer of an unarmed African American man in Minneapolis in the strongest possible terms.

As leaders of faith traditions that include Judaism, Islam, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Humanism, we affirm our common conviction that  all life is sacred  and that every human being is our neighbor, worthy to be loved. Not killed. 

Our hearts break, going out to the family and to those in our community who continue to bear the historical brunt of racially-motivated oppression that too often leads to violence and even death. In a press conference, Mayor Jacob Frey phrased it well: “Being black in America should not be a death sentence.” We all say amen!

We call for a swift response by city officials and Minneapolis law enforcement leaders, and a deeper addressing of the systemic issues that led to this and similar killings. We say “enough and more than enough!” Law enforcement  must  interact with  all  our neighbors in all our neighborhoods fairly and equally. 

Might we finally learn from this most recent tragic incident? We must. We are all called to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Signed,

Imam Makram Nu’Man El-Amin, Masjid An-Nur
Rev. Dr. David Breeden, First Unitarian Society 
Rev. Dr. Dan Collison, First Covenant Church
Rev. Jen Crow, First Universalist Church 
Rev. Dr. Laurie Feille, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Imam Dr. Hamdy El-Sawaf Islamic Community Center of Minnesota/Masjid Al-Imin
Rev. Dr. Tim Hart-Andersen, Westminster Presbyterian Church
The Very Reverend Paul Lebens-Englund, St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral
Rev. Dr. Paula Northwood, Plymouth Congregational Church 
Rev. Peter Nycklemoe, Central Lutheran Church
Rev. Judy Zabel, Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church
 Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman, Temple Israel 
Bishop's statement on the death of George Floyd
May 27, 2020

Bishop Bruce R. Ough disseminated the following statement following the  death of George Floyd . Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 in the custody of Minneapolis police after an officer was shown pinning him down while he struggled to breathe. 

There is more than one pandemic ravaging Minnesota and our country at this time. In addition to fighting COVID-19, we are besieged by a pandemic of racism, white supremacy, and white on black or brown violence. The tragic, racially charged, and unnecessary death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers is only the latest flare-up of this pandemic—and Mr. Floyd is only the latest victim. The list of Black lives who have been needlessly killed grows each day. The pervasive culture of racism and white supremacy, increasingly incited by political rhetoric, grows each day. The fear among parents of Black children grows each day. The flaunting of our laws against racial profiling and discrimination grows each day.

I applaud Mayor Jacob Frey and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo for acting decisively and quickly to fire the police officers. I am grateful the FBI is launching a civil rights investigation. I join with many others in demanding that justice prevail in this situation. I am praying for the Floyd family and the police officers and their families.

Now, it is our responsibility as persons of faith, and particularly as followers of Jesus in the Methodist tradition, to address this pervasive pandemic of racism. We are compelled to address this pandemic with the same intensity and intentionality with which we are addressing COVID-19.

We begin by acknowledging that racism is sin and antithetical to the gospel. We confess and denounce our own complicity. We take a stand against any and all expressions of racism and white supremacy, beginning with the racial, cultural, and class disparities in our state and country that are highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic. We sound the clarion call for the eradication of racism. We challenge governmental leaders who fan the flames of racial division for political gain. We examine our own attitudes and actions; all change begins with transformed hearts continually yielding to the righteousness and love of God. 

Let us not turn away or ignore the disease that has been tearing our country apart and destroying lives for centuries. This disease—the sin of racism and white supremacy—denies the teachings of Jesus and our common, created humanity. Let us renew our efforts to eradicate the disease that truly threatens our ideals and the lives, livelihoods, and dignity of so many of our neighbors.

I urge you to join me in continuing to pray for the Floyd family as well as the many families whose lives were tragically altered or whose fears have been heightened as a result of this inexcusable tragedy. May God’s grace, peace, justice, and vision of the Beloved Community overpower the forces of evil and death.

Bishop Bruce R. Ough
Resident Bishop, Dakotas-Minnesota Area
The United Methodist Church
#Sayhisname:
A Conversation for Young Adults about George Floyd
Sunday, May 31 at 2:30pm on Zoom

Young Adults are invited for a conversation about how they've been impacted by the death of George Floyd. The conversation will provide a safe space to speak openly, learn from each other's unique perspectives, and support one another as we process this tragedy together.

Email Rick Belbutoski, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, with questions: rick@haumc.org .

Join the Zoom meeting here.

Meeting ID: 853 7013 0844
Password: 140746
Dial-In Manually: 301-715-8592; passcode: 85370130844#
Confront Implicit Bias:
Take a Free Online Course

In our work for racial justice, we must confront the ways that racism is woven into our culture, our institutions, and even our own psyches. “Implicit bias: What we don’t think we think” is a free online course created by The United Methodist General Commission on Religion and Race for anyone interested in learning and teaching others about implicit bias.

The learning engagements included in each section allow for individual work, group work, and optional sermon preparation. All of the learning engagements recognize and lift up the reality that context is known best by those on the ground.

Share this link with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers--and commit yourself to learning more about how implicit bias perpetuates racial injustice.

Go to www.gcorr.org/online-course-implicit-bias/ and take the course.
New Discussion Group
Vital Conversations: Realities of Race and Racism
Weekly on Tuesdays, June 9 through June 30, 7:00pm on Zoom

You are invited to gather with fellow Hennepin members and friends to have Vital Conversations about the realities of race and racism in America.

Using the award-wining Vital Conversations Video Series provided by the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR), we will dive into some tough topics that threaten to divide and damage our community. The video series features contemporary theologians, sociologists, laity, clergy, scholars, activists and other thought-leaders dealing with challenges of race, culture, and oppression in the world today.

You can find the videos here --feel free to share these with family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

Join a Zoom call for one or all four of the 75-minutes sessions. Heather Alden and Michelle DeVaughn will be facilitating. Stay tuned for Zoom meeting details, or email us with any questions: Heather Alden at ( haepower3@gmail.com  or Michelle DeVaughn at devaughnmm@gmail.com ).
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