Mennonite Church USA released a “statement on racial injustice” June 1 in response to events surrounding the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The statement calls for MC USA congregations “to stand in solidarity with communities of color, walk alongside them and, indeed, be led by them.”
The MC USA statement acknowledges structural oppression and racial inequities in society, naming white supremacy, institutionalized violence and police brutality and draws a parallel to Jesus’ execution. The statement also addresses two questions:
- Why do protests often turn violent?
- Why it is inappropriate and tone deaf to say, “All lives matter?” (in response to the “Black lives matter” outcry)
“May we continue to pray for, seek out and lend our voices and bodies to God’s healing, justice and peace,” the statement says.
Additionally, Glen Guyton, executive director of MC USA, wrote an article June 1 titled “We need to engage in more costly peacemaking” in which he says: “Our historic peace church needs to speak to the growing injustice in our country. Our historic peace church needs to speak to the increasing use of military force on civilians and the militarization of our police force. . . . Along with thoughts and prayers, we need action. We need to be unified around who we are as transformative peacemakers, not our political ideologies.”
Guyton, an African American and the first person of color to lead the denomination, calls all MC USA congregations to have a time of prayer Sunday, June 7, to “lament the violence, pain and injustice that is plaguing our country,” and calls on the denomination “to engage in more costly peacemaking, rooted in radical discipleship, which seeks to dismantle systems of oppression.” He encourages the church to #BringThePeace, a reference to MC USA’s current peacemaking initiative.
Also on June 1 MC USA published a series of laments written by a diverse group of pastors, leaders, lay people and students in response to “the recent and persistent violence upon black bodies.” Individuals are invited to pray along and write their own laments as a spiritual practice.
More information on MC USA’s peacebuilding efforts is available at mennoniteusa.org.