Dear Friends in Christ,
When I first heard a year ago elected leaders use the phrase, “China virus,” I knew this would be a license for some to engage in hate crimes against Asians. A year later, hate crimes against Asians are up 150% in the United States.
In January, a 91-year-old Asian man was shoved to the ground for no apparent reason. Just this week, six Asian women were killed in Georgia.
It is wrong, not of God and something all United Methodists should speak out against.
In GNJ we have committed to work toward ending the sin of racism. Ending the sin of racism begins by doing the following:
- Look at our own biases and make changes in our own beliefs and practices.
- Speak out when others say or do something that degrades and harms others because of the color of their skin.
- Work to change practices and systems that are used to oppress and hurt others because of the color of their skin.
I invite all of our churches to pray to end hate crimes toward Asians and all people of color and to use the prayer below this weekend in worship and/or to email it to church members and friends. I call all pastors to denounce the rise in hate crimes and to claim we are all God’s children regardless of race, culture and nation and that as followers of Jesus and as United Methodists we value every person regardless of race, culture or nationality.
Let us continue to work and pray together to make a better church and world.
Keep the faith!
Bishop John Schol
United Methodists of Greater NJ
Prayer for United Methodists – Bishop John Schol
Creator God, before human life began, you reached around the globe to gather rich red clay, fertile black soil, white sand, tan and brown earth and created humanity; people of every hue, every culture and of every nation and called them good. We praise you because you embrace diversity. Through all of us, you ran red blood in our veins and breathed into us the same breath. We praise you because while creating us uniquely, you have drawn us together to be one family.
Redeemer God, forgive us when we allow color, culture and boundary to become the enemy of hospitality and dignity. In the midst of life’s complexities, let us never give up or give in to quick fixes but to be the innovators, creators following your example of loving diversity and embracing one another.
Sustainer God and protector of all, sustain and strengthen us for the journey ahead. Help us to be bearers of hospitality and grace through our church, our homes and our nation. Holy Spirit, pour out your courage and zeal on each of us to be bearers of the truth of Christ-like love and to work to end the sin of racism.