Equality and Justice for All
We here at St John’s have stood for over 20 years as a pillar of strength and support for the LGBTQ community and their rights. While the struggle of this community is still ongoing, it would be selfish of us to not speak up for another community of people that is hurting, which include members of our congregation and faith. We stand hand in hand with our brothers and sisters of color in the continued fight for equal rights. It is a fight which has existed for far longer than it should have had to and is one that we realize at St John’s requires more from us a church body.
We condemn the brutality and racial violence that has festered in our nation. We condemn racism of all forms, both implicit and explicit. We acknowledge the hurt that systems of wealth and power have done, both on purpose and in ignorance, to minority communities in this country since it’s founding. We believe prayers are no longer sufficient and that peaceful actions of many forms must be taken to ensure equality and justice for all in our nation.
James 2: 14-18, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
We believe that change will not come if we wait for others to act first. We must be the change that we seek. As United Methodists, we come from a legacy of faith, grounded in grace and committed to action for justice for all of God’s people. We encourage everyone to act peacefully and smartly, to do the most good in their community, and to show empathy and compassion as you would want it for yourself and your own family. As our founder John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” We pray that we will be able to live into all that this statement encompasses, with your help and God’s help!
Pastor Dawn urges everyone to watch the documentary 13th. The documentary gives deep insight into the real struggle at hand and should be prayed over. The film can be found on Netflix .
From the Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
We join in the outrage expressed by multiple groups and leaders within our connection. The outrage is not only over the death of George Floyd (and countless others) but over the way in which systemic racism and white supremacy are imbedded in the history of our nation and of our church. This act of violence was perpetrated at the hands of those charged with protecting citizens and maintaining the peace. Racism is not new. White supremacy, xenophobia, and white privilege are interwoven within our social, political, and religious structures. Racism is a sin and is blatantly incompatible with Christian teaching.
As Jesus’ people we begin with the knowledge that all persons are created in the image of God. We believe all lives won’t matter until black lives matter.
We seek to name the injustices within the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church and work toward healing and unity. We acknowledge our complicity and our collective need to develop greater self-awareness. We repent of our individual and collective sins of omission and commission, particularly our silence and when we have not actively worked for racial justice.
We commit to listening. We commit to peace with justice. We commit to the urgency of educating ourselves. We commit to change. We commit to further training of our clergy and resourcing local churches in order to create heart transformation for all Florida United Methodists. We encourage Florida United Methodists to work toward eliminating obstacles to voting. We ask people to move towards one another and build new relationships.
We join you in prayer with a commitment to build a future with hope. The truth of this statement will be made known as we witness these words put into action.