Rev. Junius Dotson began the second full day of the South Central Jurisdictional with a worship session that looked beyond the process of electing bishops or the state of the church and addressed the state of the world.
Recapping the police shootings of the prior week, followed by the killing of police officers at a previously peaceful protest in Dallas, he said that when the delegates leave the ecclesiastical bubble of electing bishops, they will confront a different world -
a world that isn’t how they would have it to be.
It’s also a world in which the culture pushes people toward joining a side, either for the police or against the police.
“This cannot be an either/or proposition for the children of God,” Dotson said. The violent loss of any life must be mourned, he said.
The Jurisdictional Conference was happening in Dotson’s former home town. He was the pastor of St. Mark’s UMC in Wichita, but was recently named the General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries and is now in Nashville.
Dotson’s 19 year old son, Wesley, is a student at Kansas University. Dotson said he has had two encounters with police, one of which was life-threatening.
“What can the righteous do when chaos is spinning out of control?” Dotson asked. “The times we are living in are not just trying times, they are crying times.”
Dotson told those present that they must reclaim their prophetic witness. He issued a prophetic challenge, declaring that the mission field is not only across the sea, but also across the street. As cement must be mixed with water to create concrete, God’s word must be mixed with faith.
Dotson recently spent some time in Franklin’s Barber Shop because he wanted to see how they perceive the church is processing the incidents that took place across the country. Their reply was that the church doesn’t listen to what is going on.
“I believe our communities, our nation, need the United Methodist Church for such a time as this,” Dotson said. “There is a moment. There is a reason for hope. When we seek God’s obedience, I decree and declare that revival can come. That revival will come.”
At the conclusion of the service, Dotson asked the congregation to write their hopes or dreams for the church down on a card and then bring the card down to the altar. The cards were gathered up and taken to the Upper Room at Discipleship Ministries in Nashville, where they will be prayed over for a month.