In the Wake of Violence: Resources for Sunday


Yet again, this has been a week of unimaginable violence, profound grief and heartbreaking loss. As I watched the news, a passage from Jeremiah 6:14 played over in my mind: “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” I am aware during these grief-filled times, words can have empty meaning, and it is often a struggle to figure out how to live as one called to be the light of the world (Matt. 5:14). I share this struggle with you.

As you discern how to lead your congregation and community forward this email contains resources to provide support in leading. I encourage you to explore the statement provided by the Council of Bishops and its call upon the people of the United Methodist Church to enter into the challenge and complexity of this present moment. I believe this present moment is best served by our local churches leading and witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ within their community. Discern how God might be calling you to address the violence of our world in your own neighborhood.

I have shared with you all several times that we are in a season of life and ministry where we need to offer a less anxious presence than our congregations and our communities. Be calm and courageous. Be loving and kind. Do not fear! Take special care to be Christ’s presence to God’s people today and every day. I appreciate each of you as you strive to share the Gospel with our weary world.

In Christ’s Peace+

Bishop Robert Schnase

ADDRESS AND ACKNOWLEDGE

Address God through daily prayer asking for peace and guidance about our continuing struggle to live out the vision of God’s kingdom. Acknowledge through your preaching and teaching our complicity in the sin of institutional racism, which denies the inherently sacred nature of every person. As you seek to lead your congregation through this weekend’s services, you may find the following liturgical resources helpful.

AFFIRM

There are ample resources for community learning and exploration around racial justice online and through connectional resources to learn ways your church and community can be engaged in the challenging work of racial justice.

ADVOCATE AND ACT

Discover how you and your community can best address violence in our communities. In the coming days, there will be prayer vigils and peaceful protests in and near your community that offer you a chance to bear witness to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s words that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” If there is not a vigil or prayer service near you, work with your ecumenical partners to offer one for your community. Explore what these United Methodist leaders suggest we might do to find our purpose in the midst of chaos: