Over the past three weeks we have witnessed and learned of assaults on black and brown persons by police officers, and private assaults unreported by police officers. These nationally publicized acts caused an outpouring of grief and anger at the ongoing systemic assaults as well as systemic neglect of assaults by private parties on black and brown people. The anger and grief have been felt and experienced in our own faith community of LMUMC.
As a result, last Sunday, May 31, I opened a Zoom ‘LMUMC Townhall on Systemic Racism and its Effect on Black and Brown People.’ I asked our black and brown brothers and sisters to speak first. Those who joined the townhall expressed some raw feelings, and many also heard and experienced the grief, anger and dismay. Near the end of the gathering, we recognized that this was only the first of several necessary conversations that our community needs to have about the deep-rooted systemic racism that many have experienced their whole lives, as well as the subtle and not-so-subtle racism that many Caucasians either express, or stay silent in the face of hearing. These townhalls we believe need to occur to begin to remedy the brokenness of our system, the long-existing systemic inequality and the practices that individuals, especially Caucasians can and need to begin or continue to do.
We have decided to hold weekly LMUMC Townhalls on Sunday evenings, 6:30 pm. I recognize that the time between 5 pm and 8 pm is the dinner hour for most families. It was not possible to pick a particular hour that would not interfere with at least one family’s dinner. If this is your dinner hour, we hope you will make this townhall your dinner hour conversation.
I pray that each of you are leaning into the power and hope of the Holy Spirit during these times of Covid-19 pandemic and the reckoning of our country’s built-in racism and its effect on everyone of us, most especially on our black and brown brothers and sisters. I also pray that even if you feel talked out, listened out, heard or spoke enough about the long-existing issue, you will continue to lean in, listen to, speak to, and be open to transformation through the love of God, the compassion and justice of Jesus the Christ and the power and passion of the Holy Spirit.
I look forward to seeing on Sunday mornings for worship at 10:15 am and in the evenings at 6:30 pm for LMUMC Townhall on System Racism and Its Effect on Black and Brown People.
Please see our website for the Zoom links for both Sunday morning worship and Sunday evening townhall.