A note from Pastor Jeff
In his sermon last Sunday, Rev. Barry Burns spoke about how we can live into Jesus’ call to follow him and his great commission to make disciples. You have heard me say before that it is ours to represent, or re-present Jesus in and for the world today.
As some have wisely said, our country is currently wrestling with two viruses – the new viral pandemic of Covid-19, and the centuries-old virus of racism and white supremacy. Over the past few months we have worked as a church family to re-present Jesus in the midst of Covid-19. I believe we are now being called to re-present Jesus regarding the virus of racism and white supremacy. Corporations and organizations throughout our country are making public statements and promises regarding their intent to be a part of the change that is so desperately needed.
As followers of the way of Jesus, let it not be said that our family of faith has nothing to contribute to this important conversation.
The baptismal and membership vows in our denomination ask if we “accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” If we are to take this vow seriously, we cannot remain silent. We must find ways to see the image of God in all of God’s beloved children and also work to eliminate the evil, injustice, and oppression of racism and white supremacy.
If you’re like me, you might find yourself wondering what difference you can really make. I’m reminded that the first step always begins within. We cannot make changes externally if we have not done the work of inner transformation. As the song goes, “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me." To begin this journey, I invite you to answer Bishop Palmer's call to all West Ohio United Methodists that we pray daily at 8:46am or 8:46pm for 8 minutes and 46 seconds (the amount of time that George Floyd was held to the ground).
As United Methodists, our journey inward must always be accompanied by a journey outward. Faith and works go hand in hand. The mission statement of our denomination is “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Let us live into that mission, as well as our own church’s mission to “Grow love” in all the ways we can.
To that end, I have asked Andrea Laux, our Director of Adult Discipleship, to develop an opportunity for our congregation to have conversations that will help us both look inward and also lead us to action. She will be facilitating a four-week study created by the West Ohio Conference titled
The Gospel and Race
. The study will meet on Thursday evenings at 7:00pm via Zoom starting next week (June 18). Please join us in these important conversations by contacting
or using this
Below are some additional ideas of how you can deepen your understanding of racism and put your faith into action:
For families with children at home:
These are just a few suggestions. There is so much more we can learn and do together. I look forward to seeing how the Spirit moves among us in the coming days and weeks as we seek to do our part in building God’s Beloved Community.