Posted June 6, 2020
Dear Laity and Clergy of the Florida Annual Conference:
Below you will find a statement from our cabinet. We realize it has been eleven days since the death of George Floyd. We have responded on social media and in clergy meetings and we felt like a more formal statement was important at this time. We also commend the statement of the SEJ College of Bishops, which was released today. We know you will find ways to address this in worship and you may choose to use these statements in some way. To our Black clergy colleagues, we see you, we hear you and we stand with you at this time. We are asking our White clergy to fully engage with this. We are working on actionable steps including training in the fall and the creation of an Anti-Racism Task Force. If you have input to this work, please communicate at this time with Alex Shanks at [email protected]. You can also find a list of resources for this work here.
The Peace of the Lord,
The Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference
Cabinet Statement in Response to Racial Injustice
From the Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
We join in the outrage expressed by multiple groups and leaders within our connection. The outrage is not only over the death of George Floyd (and countless others) but over the way in which systemic racism and white supremacy are imbedded in the history of our nation and of our church. This act of violence was perpetrated at the hands of those charged with protecting citizens and maintaining the peace. Racism is not new. White supremacy, xenophobia, and white privilege are interwoven within our social, political, and religious structures. Racism is a sin and is blatantly incompatible with Christian teaching.
As Jesus’ people we begin with the knowledge that all persons are created in the image of God. We believe all lives won’t matter until black lives matter.
We seek to name the injustices within the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church and work toward healing and unity. We acknowledge our complicity and our collective need to develop greater self-awareness. We repent of our individual and collective sins of omission and commission, particularly our silence and when we have not actively worked for racial justice.
We commit to listening. We commit to peace with justice. We commit to the urgency of educating ourselves. We commit to change. We commit to further training of our clergy and resourcing local churches in order to create heart transformation for all Florida United Methodists. We encourage Florida United Methodists to work toward eliminating obstacles to voting. We ask people to move towards one another and build new relationships.
We join you in prayer with a commitment to build a future with hope. The truth of this statement will be made known as we witness these words put into action.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin L King Jr Ave, Lakeland, FL 33815