United Methodist Pastors Call for Unity, Organize Faith and Justice March in Wake of Botham Jean Shooting

The past few weeks have been filled with tension across Dallas County over the killing of 26-year-old Botham Jean at the hands of Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger nearly two weeks ago.

North Texas is, once again, catching the nation’s attention over controversial police shootings. Deadly shootings are testing community and police relations.

“Right now, we’re in the midst of the heat,” said Rev. Edlen Cowley of Fellowship United Methodist Church in Trophy Club.

“This situation is so…strange. That no matter what your ilk, you look at it and you are like, something just doesn’t seem quite right,” Cowley said.

Rev. Cowley and Rev. Edgar Bazan of Tyler Street United Methodist Church are among a group of faith leaders announcing the United Methodist of All Colors Walk for Justice on Wednesday, Sept. 19. The walk will begin in front of Dallas Police headquarters at 11 a.m.

“As clergy, we have a mission, a calling to serve for the betterment of communities. With tragedies like this, we have to speak out,” Rev. Bazan explained.

Speaking out for justice, the pastors say, it doesn’t matter your color or community. Rev. Bazan leads a predominately Hispanic and white congregation in West Oak Cliff. “When someone is hurting, we shouldn’t be divided,” Bazan said.

Rev. Cowley leads a predominately white congregation in Trophy Club. He posted a letter on Facebook, shortly after Jean was killed, concerned it appeared only African American pastors were speaking publicly about the investigation and demanding justice. Since then, a diverse and large group of clergy leaders have responded and made their support public. More than 100 United Methodist pastors have signed a letter demanding justice for Botham Jean.

“When situations like this happen, we often see the African American community, clergy, and churches standing up and speaking. And what’s different here is we have a diverse conference,” Rev. Bazan explained.

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SOURCE: WFAA, by Demond Fernandez