Posted July 5, 2021
The Capital Area Justice Ministry
What We’re About
Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, is not unlike many Southern cities in that it has existed as two separate cities for generations.
Quite literally, the railroad tracks that run near and parallel to Gaines Street separate Tallahassee into Black and white. One Tallahassee, known as South City, is predominantly Black and is marked by generational poverty, grade schools with low reading scores, food deserts, economic underdevelopment, and hundreds of residents living with felony records–unable to vote nor otherwise repair and build their own futures.
The “other” Tallahassee is the rest of the city, and is predominantly white, middle-income or wealthy, and where all the good schools, grocery stores with fresh produce, infrastructure, and opportunities are. For many, crossing from “their” part of town to the other is a foreign experience.
A Community-Wide Effort
Angry about living in a still-segregated city, 30 clergy met together in the basements of several downtown congregations over the course of nine months, and decided to build a cross-congregational, interfaith ministry that will powerfully address the systemic ills plaguing the Capital City. In the winter of 2019, AME, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist, Lutheran, Church of God in Christ, United Methodist, Jewish and Unitarian faith leaders voted to launch a community wide effort called the Capital Area Justice Ministry.
Together, these clergy share a vision of uniting a segregated Tallahassee by fighting for just local policies, and by fostering authentic relationships that are rooted in stories rather than stereotypes.
The mission of the Capital Area Justice Ministry is for religious congregations — from Protestant and Jewish to Evangelical and Catholic and Muslim — to work together over the long haul to put into practice the shared value of loving your neighbor as yourself by dismantling local policies and practices that have codified bias and created generational inequality. By uniting their worshipping communities, members of the Capital Area Justice Ministry seek to advance justice and opportunity throughout local marginalized communities.
They will achieve this by establishing justice ministries within and among their congregations that listen to the cries of their people, research for institutional solutions, powerfully demand implementation, follow-up to ensure fulfillment, and financially invest in the longevity of the ministry.
Through direct action, scriptural study, and cultivating relationships around common ground and shared values, the Capital Area Justice Ministry will reimagine and recreate Tallahassee into one city of God, where “justice rolls on like a river, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Posted May 21, 2021
Community Bible Study
Please go here for info and to register
Posted May 4, 2021
Credible Witness Summer Study
The Florida Conference of the
United Methodist Church has
embarked upon a radical work of
creating an Anti-Racism Task Force
that is working in three specific areas:
Training & Accountability, Beloved
Community, and Public Policy &
Witness. In response to this calling,
Rev. Dr. Latricia Edwards Scriven and
Rev. Michelle Shrader have been
invited to lead our District work
around Anti-Racism. Read more on page 3 of
May 2021 issue of Tidings.
Posted March 2, 2021
Read Rev. Dr. Wayne Wiatt’s Reflections
Posted January 19, 2021
Our Bishop, Rev. Ken Carter, invites us all on a 31-day journey with Jesus to take us from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to Ash Wednesday. We pray you will consider joining us in accepting his invitation and commit to the daily devotional.
This experience is available to us in digital format. The devotion link is above, and you can find daily speakers here: https://www.flumc.org/love-forgiveness. The very first person to share in this series is Trinity’s own Leah Wiley. We are grateful for Leah’s voice, the work of our Bishop and Conference staff, and everyone who has made this devotional possible.
Posted January 15, 2021
Grace and Peace to you, Sisters and Brothers in Christ. These are challenging times that we live in. The continued rise of COVID-19 infections and deaths around the world, the attack on the US Capitol last week, and the undeniable expressions of racism, white supremacy and systemic inequity in our communities have provided a sobering start to the new year. And yet, I find that the upcoming commemoration of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Inauguration Day in the US provide us, in the midst of turmoil, with much needed opportunities for reflection and rededication. Read more.
Posted January 12, 2021
Posted January 11, 2021
Posted October 16, 2020
We offer a special invitation to a Justice Community Bible Study next Wednesday, October 21. We’ll gather on Zoom with 25 other faith communities from 6:30pm-7:30pm to answer God’s call to do justice.
We have been working closely with our very own Leah Wiley and stakeholders from across the capital area for months to build a broad faith-based movement capable of addressing very real issues in our community. We are excited to share this opportunity with you. This is the first time we are all gathering together with members from our respective houses of worship and congregations. We know not everyone feels God’s call to justice. We also know that a great many people at Trinity do. If you have a heart for justice we pray you find an answer to God’s call to do it in this work.
We are asking for a one hour commitment next Wednesday to learn and grow together with other people in our community who feel a call to the work of justice.
If this message speaks to you, click the link below to register for the event. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Nick ([email protected]). The last day to register is Monday, October 19th:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Posted September 14, 2020
Opportunity to sign-up for book study and/or documentary discussion on race relations
Posted August 21 , 2020
See proposal for study on race relations.
Posted July 16, 2020
Posted June 6, 2020
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
Posted June 4, 2020
During the last week we have watched an incredible outpouring of emotion across our nation. In conversation with friends and clergy of color we have heard pain, fear, sadness, anger, and more. We too have wrestled with those same feelings. The reality is that George Floyd’s death is the most recent example of how black lives are so quickly taken in our society. The uneven effects of COVID, the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, the threat against Christian Cooper, the killing by and of Tony McDade locally, and countless personal stories we will never hear have left so many of our human family feeling deeply vulnerable and downright unsafe. People are clamoring for answers, many are filing into the streets across the country, and our community has joined the widespread outcry and call for change.
We offer you a pastoral word and call to lament in this moment. Many of the people who receive this communication do not live with the day to day reality of social interactions that could take our lives. For your pastors, the COVID pandemic is the longest stretch of our lives where we have had to deal with the deep fear and anxiety of not knowing if walking down the street or into the store may result in our death. This is but a glimpse into what many of our brothers and sisters of color regularly live with. We know when discomfort and uncertainty wells up inside us about how to respond or what to do in the face of our family’s pain, this story is not about us. Sitting in the discomfort we feel is a choice we must make, because we have a choice to make. Working through our uncertainty in this moment is a sign of God’s grace and equips us to better support our family.
Lamentations are part of our Christian tradition, passed down through the great cloud of witnesses to our faith from Abraham’s doubt, to Ruth’s prose, in Jesus’ tears, Wesley’s uncertainty, and Martin’s dream. We find comfort and peace in our grief thanks to God’s grace. We also find strength, together. While we must lament we must also act. Something simple to do in this moment is show love for your neighbor and check on your friends, particularly your friends of color. Let them know you care and you’re ready to listen. You don’t have to have answers or solutions, nor is this the time for lots of questions. Just sit with them, listen, engage when asked, and acknowledge the experiences they share.
Another step is to reflect on what you are doing to move God’s Kingdom forward with honor and respect for the wonderful diversity of Creation. Like the old children’s song goes, “red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight,” God’s love is for everyone. You can Google antiracism resources and start some research. We’ve also included a reflection from one of our member’s, Walli Beall, with this message to serve as a guidepost for all our journeys. We can do a better job of confronting our own biases and pray for the grace to do it without harm.
Finally, if you are called to act, we encourage you to be safe. There are demonstrations happening almost daily. There is one tonight. People will gather at 7pm at the Capitol and walk to Cascades Park. Our mayor, city commission, police chief, city manager and assistant city manager, as well as several clergy made a public statement on Monday of this week supporting and encouraging peaceful demonstration. We echo their sentiment and ask that you also remember we are in the middle of a community-wide pandemic response.
We Love Being Your Pastors,
Dr. Wayne, Rev. Neal, and Dr. Nick