As United Methodists, we value the sanctity of human life and deplore violence in our communities and acts of racism, hatred, and systems that perpetuate these and other injustices. We desire to be ambassadors of Christ who work to build bridges between people and overcome dividing walls of hostility. Because of these values and convictions, we express our grief over the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a young African American man who was shot in Brunswick in February.
As stated in our United Methodist social principles, we recognize racism as sin and affirm the ultimate and temporal worth of all persons. We commit as the Church to move beyond symbolic expressions and representative models that do not challenge unjust systems of power and access. We join those who are urging that steps be taken to accomplish due process in this case.
While we don't know everything about this shooting and wait for information, we must not hesitate to move toward all those involved with the healing love of Jesus Christ. We must recognize anew that the churches of a community, along with other religious communities, can act collaboratively to create an environment that is conducive to healing, justice, and mutual understanding. Brunswick is filled with people of compassion and goodwill. Let us do all we can to support them, and our own communities, by living out our faith through acts of healing and hope.
We call upon all South Georgia United Methodists to be agents of grace, mercy, love, peace, justice, and reconciliation in our communities. If change is to happen, it must start with us.
Bishop R. Lawson Bryan, Episcopal Leader, South Georgia Conference
Rev. David Thompson, Coastal District Superintendent
RESOURCES FOR LIVING AS A BELOVED COMMUNITY
“As disciples of Christ, we are called to love our enemies, seek justice, and serve as reconcilers of conflict.” — United Methodist Social Principles, ¶165.C We offer these resources to help guide our conversations.
Rev. Donna Avera, Emanuel UMC
Rev. Don Combs, Lakeside UMC
Rev. Bill Culpepper, Brunswick First UMC
Dr. Wright Culpepper, Brunswick First UMC & Faithworks
Dr. Bill Daniel, College Place UMC
Rev. James Davis, Grace UMC
Rev. Wesley Deverger, Arco UMC
Rev. Jay Hanson, The Chapel UMC
Rev. Tom Jones, St. Simons Island UMC
Rev. Abra Lattany-Reed, Harpers's Chapel UMC
Rev. Jim McIlrath, Taylors UMC
Dr. Jerry Roe, Wesley at Frederica UMC