United Methodist Bishops Affirm Protests and Tell Members to Pray Twice Daily for 8 Minutes, 46 Seconds

Mourners pass by the casket of George Floyd during a public visitation for him at the Fountain of Praise church June 8, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, Pool)

United Methodist bishops are calling members of the global denomination to “take a stand against the oppression and injustice that is killing persons of color” after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and other black people.

In a written statement released Monday (June 8), bishops called all United Methodists to name racism and white supremacy as sins and to act to end them.

“It is time to use our voices, our pens, our feet and our heart for change,” according to the statement, signed by Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops.

Bishops encouraged United Methodists to act by spending eight minutes and 46 seconds in prayer at 8:46 a.m. and 8:46 p.m. each day for at least the next 30 days. Floyd was killed on May 25 when a police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds in a Minneapolis street.

“Pray for all persons of color who suffer at the hands of injustice and oppression. Pray for our church as we take a stand against racism,” the statement reads. “Imagine the power of a concert of prayer heard around the world.”

Bishops also encouraged United Methodists to act by reading books and listening to podcasts on anti-racism and engaging in conversations about the subject with both children and adults.

A group marches June 2, 2020, to Jefferson Square in Louisville, Kentucky, to protest the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Taylor, a black woman, was fatally shot by Louisville police in her home in March. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

And they affirmed the peaceful protests over the past few weeks that have been sparked by Floyd’s death as “a means of giving voice where it is needed most.”

“The time is now,” Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, head of the United Methodists’ Baltimore-Washington Conference, said in the written statement.

“Dismantle the architecture of whiteness and white supremacy; stop creating, implementing and supporting policies that perpetuate economic injustice; stop the dog-whistle political maneuverings which incite violence against people of color; commit to being an anti-racist; stop over-policing Black and brown bodies; stop using deadly force in ordinary police interactions with Black and brown people. Stop killing us.”

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Source: Religion News Service