UA-78503712-1 Response to Shootings

…an inclusive community
responding to God’s love…

Deaths by Shooting of

* Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016

* Philando Castile on July 6, 2016

* Five Dallas Police Officers on July 7, 2016: Brent Thompson (DART), Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens,

United Methodist Women speak out against extrajudicial killings of people of color and vigilante killing of police

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United Methodist Women calls for the criminal justice system to hold police accountable for a troubling pattern of extrajudicial killings by police that shows a reckless disregard for African-American life.

United Methodist Women equally condemns vigilantism as a response to extrajudicial police killings and decries the ability of civilians to obtain semiautomatic weapons created for war, such as those used by the sniper to kill the five officers in downtown Dallas, Texas, July 7.

In less than 72, hours two videotapes emerged that captured in real time the deaths of two black men during encounters with police in two U.S. cities. Alton Sterling, 37, was killed by police arresting him outside of a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 5, while Philando Castile, 32, was killed in his car during a routine traffic stop just outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 6. Both cases are under investigation, with the FBI leading the inquiry in Baton Rouge and monitoring the effort in Minneapolis.

United Methodist Women respects this process. We also call for an end to policing practices that too quickly escalate routine police encounters with people of color into life-threatening events and poison critical community-police relationships. As stated in the “Stop Criminalizing Communities of Color in the United States” resolution introduced by United Methodist Women and adopted by the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon, in May:

Such over policing erodes community trust in law enforcement and sends a clear message to police that not all Americans are equal under law, as people in targeted communities do not have the same constitutional protections other Americans enjoy (http://calms2016.umc.org/Text.aspx?mode=Petition&Number=263)

Escalating violence can also endanger police officers.

We reiterate the call in “Stop Criminalizing Communities of Color in the United States” resolution for The United Methodist Church to work for justice:

“The United Methodist Church must work to dismantle policies that assume whole groups of people are criminals and encourage public acceptance of the injustices of racial profiling (2008 Book of Resolutions, #3378), mass incarceration, and disenfranchisement of entire communities demonized as a threatening “other.”

The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church, 2016

As stated in the Charter for Racial Justice reintroduced by United Methodist Women and readopted by the 2016 General Conference, “racism robs all human beings of their wholeness and is used as a justification for social, economic and political exploitation.”

Our faith must be a prompt and a guide for how we engaged with urgency the work to end the punishing legacy of racism visible to all in the videotaped horrors of the past few days and hours.

United Methodist Women recommits itself and calls on the Church to promote the things that make for peace by working for justice, extolling mercy and building bridges between communities of color, law enforcement and the wider public.

Posted or updated: 7/7/2016 11:00:00 PM

United Methodist Women is the largest denominational faith organization for women, comprised of approximately 800,000 members who have put faith, hope and love into action on behalf of women, children and youth for nearly 150 years.

President of Council of Bishops speaks following series of shooting deaths

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July 8, 2016
Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, issued the following statement on behalf of the Council in the wake of shootings in the U.S. this week.
In the aftermath of violent deaths this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Dallas, Texas, we speak to a nation that is overwhelmed with anger, grief, frustration, and despair. These deaths have left our hearts and voices crying for justice. The preliminary evidence and the shocking video images are a convincing reminder that we have work to do. The deaths of young black males in encounters with white police officers call for the need of a bi-partisan political and legal response, beyond (but including) the statements and prayers of the church. The subsequent deaths of police officers remind us of the honorable service of the great majority of these public servants and the destructive cycle of violence and retribution.  We pray for each family in their  profound loss and grief.  
We call upon the people of the United Methodist Church to enter into the challenge and complexity of this present moment.  We affirm that every person is created in the image of God.  We acknowledge our complicity in the sin of institutional racism, which denies the inherently sacred nature of every person.  We confess that we have often allowed our ideological differences to become more important than our unity in the One Body.  We repent of our temptation to live in fear of one another and to seek security apart from God.  We claim the essential need for all Christians of privilege to listen and seek deeper understanding when our brothers and sisters cry out for justice.  We commit ourselves to speak on behalf of those who are denied justice.  We support the difficult work of those in law enforcement and at the same time seek ways of moving toward better community engagement.  We pledge to address the problem of mass incarceration of young black males in our society. We recognize the temptation to become numb in the face of persistent mass violence, and we hear the call as disciples of Jesus to move beyond lovers of peace to become peacemakers.
Let us together pray that God will work through us to bear witness to Christ’s call to bring healing to a fractured community and a broken world.  When we cannot find the strength within ourselves,  may we turn to you, for we know you call us to love our neighbor.  Remind us O God that love casts out all fear.  Make us a people of transformational change, of reconciliation, of justice and instruments of your peace.  Even now and especially now – for we offer this prayer in the face of struggle, pain, tragedy and unrest, and yet with confidence in the power of your love - our God, our Redeemer, Healer, the prince of peace!  We pray in our own time for the fulfillment of the prophecy given to Zechariah on the first Advent, even as we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus” and claim the promise of the gospel:
By the tender mercy of our God the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:78-79)
 
Bishop Bruce R. Ough, President
Council of Bishops
Issued on behalf of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church
###
Media contact:
Diane Degnan ddegnan@umcom.org
615.742.5406 (o) 615.483.1765 (c)

Orlando, June 12, 2016 — Pulse Night Club

United Methodists Unite in Mourning the Deaths of 49 Persons at Orlando’s Pulse Bar — expressing Solidarity both with Muslims who Condemn this Terrorism with us and with the LGBQTI Communiity who have lost so many of their own

Others’ Recent Responses to Orlando

(some supplied by congregational members or discovered on the internet)

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Los Angeles Bishop Minverva Carcaño has written:

Response to the Attack in Orlando, FL

The United Methodist Church

Los Angeles Episcopal Area

Minerva G. Carcaño

Resident Bishop

Friends,

This morning we woke up to the atrocity of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States. We mourn with the families and the loved ones of those who were murdered and injured. We are so aware of the moral injury that such an expression of hate and prejudice inflicts upon us all.

As I have prayed for the victims of this latest shooting, for the shooter and his family, for the people of Orlando, and for us, I have been struck by a concern that has penetrated my heart. Is it possible that we United Methodists with such a negative attitude and position against LGBTQI persons contribute to such a crime? When we say that those who are of a homosexual gender identity are living lives that are incompatible with Christian teaching, that they are not to be included in our ordained leadership, and that they are not important enough for us to invest resources of the Church in advocating for their well-being, in essence when we say that our LGBTQI brothers and sisters are not worthy of the fullness of life that Christ offers us all, are we not contributing to the kind of thinking that promotes doing harm to these our brothers and sisters, our children, the sacred children of God?

I want you to think and pray with me about this. We cannot just stand-by and allow what happened in Orlando, Florida to go without our deep and prayerful reflection and our repentance and conversion wherever that is necessary in the life of our Church. Standing with the people of Orlando in their shock, their despair and grief as many have called us to do starting with President Obama, is not enough. As disciples of Jesus Christ we must stand for abundant life for all God’s children including our LBTQI brothers and sisters.

Peace,

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño

Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop

The United Methodist Church

Read the original release online. Go there to share the statement with others.

United Methodist News Service reports on prayer vigils, rallies, and strong words of response and solidarity.

An example: The Blood Drive at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando

Read these further statements:

Is it possible that we United Methodists with such a negative attitude and position against LGBTQI persons contribute to such a crime?
— Bishop Minverva Carcanno


 

In response to the grim tragedy in Orlando, and out of the fear and loss caused by the shooting, Claremont UMC is offering a vigil.  Our Vigil—Restoring Sanctuary: A Response to the Orlando Shooting—will be Sunday, June 19 at 4:00 p.m. in our Sanctuary.  The vigil will provide a time for us together to share our sorrow, to honor those who perished, and to reclaim the promise of God’s love for all.  In silence and song, in word and music, we join together both to pray for the families of those who have lost their loved ones and to reaffirm our church’s unwavering support for the LGBTQ community.  Our bishop, Bishop Minerva Carcaño, issued a statement, which you can read by going to our “Orlando Response” page on Claremont UMC’s website: http://claremontumc.net/Action/Orlando/, where you will also find responses from within the United Methodist Church (and others), updated by Jim Dwyer as the responses come in.

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor Mark

Claremont United Methodist Church
211 W. Foothill Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711
www.claremontumc.net
(909) 624-9021 or toll free: 1-844-251-6335
churchoffice@claremontucm.org


 

The following poem by Pat Patterson scheduled to appear in June 17th Courier

SAFE HAVEN

For people in Orlando
and across the country
The Pulse night club was known
as an LGBTQ safe haven
a community center
a place of awareness and support
a site of love and dancing
built by Barbara Poma
after her brother
died of AIDS

On Sunday morning
June 12 it became a place
of massacre murder injury
pain outrage disbelief
The sweaty bloody bodies
of forty-nine people
mostly Latinos dead
more than fifty more
hospitalized
with grievous wounds

In a national atmosphere
of bigotry and discrimination
against gay and transgender
human beings
Impelled by rage
and whatever conflicted motives
an Afghan American man
himself prejudiced
and prejudiced against
used his AR-15
to massacre gay brothers and sisters

The wars of hate crimes
and terror
have no special geography anymore
they ransack our tranquil towns
invade our children’s schools
fill our elders with anxiety
Violence challenges all of us
to remember our foundations
and recommit ourselves
to just and loving society


Is there any safe haven
anymore for any of us
Silent too long our nation
tolerates weapons and conflict
racism sexism homophobia
poverty and indifference
Budgets and policies
domestic and international
support wars at home and abroad
that undermine the existence
of democracy and peace

There is no safe haven
for people in the Middle East
in Asia Africa Europe
in Latin America
No safe place in our own churches
theaters schools night clubs streets
All beset with the threat
and reality of targeted violence
infiltrating every level of our lives
Safety for all means
no hate speech no guns no drones

We must become safe havens
for all our neighbors
In a time of hate and terror
there is nowhere to turn
but to ourselves
and all who will join us
to transform this broken world
Building loving community
is to create and to be
the Safe Havens
we and our brothers and sisters
are looking for


pat patterson june 2016