June 5, 2020: Below you will find a statement from our cabinet. We realize it has been eleven days since the death of George Floyd. We have responded on social media and in clergy meetings and we felt like a more formal statement was important at this time.
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.
News of COVID-19, known as the coronavirus, seems to be on a continuous news cycle. Like most of you, we are concerned and cautious but want to remain balanced. We recognize that COVID-19 continues to be a public health risk which everyone must take seriously. We are continually watching developments, which, in most instances, remain fluid.
When deciding whether to attend any event, if you feel sick, if you have a compromised immune system because of other underlying health issues, or if you have any concerns about your attendance, please make the wise decision to stay at home.
One of the best weapons we have in combating COVID-19 is common sense. Let’s stay informed, follow CDC and FLDOH guidelines, use good judgment, know what signs to look for, and know to ask our local health departments when we have additional questions.
We urge caution, but not fear.
Most importantly, please continue praying for each other and for those affected by COVID-19.