This brochure is a handout that may help us focus on some positive step in response to the Charleston tragedy. It is prepared so you can download, re-format into two columns on a narrow-margin document, and print back-to-back. Then by cutting down the center, you print two documents per page.
NORTH TEXAS CONFERENCE
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN
CALL TO PRAYER AND ACTION
“Let justice roll down like waters….”
We have more than enough knowledge/facts to see that we cannot legislate tolerance, despite some efforts. We cannot legislate morality. We know that we cannot legislate legal behavior, although we have many laws defining legal and illegal behavior. Can we legislate justice?
This latest tragedy in South Carolina is another dreadful statistic for our book of knowledge: One young man killed nine people with a handgun. Those are facts not to be debated. But once again it brings us to the question: what do we do, and here continues the long-recurring debate.
Accepting John Wesley’s conviction that knowledge demands action, we start with prayer, wherein we ask for grace and mercy and discernment as to the course of action we should follow. The one action we can take freely in this instance is to determine to embody and promote love. But, to let justice roll down like waters, we must move into further action.
The Rev. Cynthia Moore-Koikoi of the Baltimore-Washington Conference said since the Charleston tragedy: “The Church has to provide the vision for what can be and the assurance that the vision is possible in spite of the present circumstances. When we pray, ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,’ we are committing ourselves to the work of community building.” To build community necessarily demands that we do justice.
WE United Methodist Women are the Church. And we are by our very Purpose committed to community building: “to develop a creative, supportive fellowship,” by turning Faith, Hope and Love into action, not just within our individual units and churches but throughout the world.
One aspect of this tragedy that requires vision and demands our attention is the racial attitude involved. We need to understand more about how racism continues to manifest itself in our communities and in our own behaviors. Could it possibly be that, somehow, we might have fostered fear or suspicion of “the other” in some uneasy mind?
On October 3, the NTC of UMW will sponsor a day-long study racism at FUMC Denton. The study will be open to all and will be led by Janis Rosheuvel, executive for racial justice for United Methodist Women in NYC. Ms. Rosheuvel will explain how racism is systemic to our U.S. government and culture and how we can help change the system. You might plan to attend this study.
In Denton there is the Denton Association of Christian Women, an inter-denominational, inter-racial group of women who meet to get to know each other and to learn about Denton, its successes and its challenges. If your community has such a group and you aren’t currently a part of it, consider joining—or help start a group.
Another possibility to consider is participating in the coalition called “Tale of Two States: Handgun Purchaser Licensing Saves Lives.” The UMC is a part of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, a coalition of more than 50 national faith groups and organizations that launched this initiative earlier this month. The initiative will educate faith leaders and the general public about the effectiveness of purchaser-licensing to save lives from gun violence. Recent studies released by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy & Research shows that handgun purchaser-licensing legislation led to a decrease in gun homicides in two states. For further information or to endorse this resolution, go to the website www.taleoftwostates.com.
And we must notify our legislators that we insist they take action— to create laws that are meant to support and protect us equally; to be sure those laws are enforced fairly; to make education and opportunity equally accessible to every citizen; to put us on the path to provide “liberty and justice for all.” Call or email your U.S. legislators.
To do nothing is not an option. Our faith, our Church, our young people, our country are calling us to take this heartbreaking knowledge and prove ourselves committed to act to build a community of this nation and world, where justice rolls down like waters.