Leaders from JPIT’s four denominations have releaed statements following the brutal murder of George Floyd.
The Revd Lynn Green, the General Secretary of Baptists Together, said:
“The inhumane and merciless brutality demonstrated towards George Floyd last week was an appalling act of injustice and reveals yet again the ugly reality of deeply ingrained institutional racism in the USA. The authentic response of a people who follow a God who delights in justice and righteousness is to stand together in solidarity and protest in the face of such insidious evil. The death of George Floyd must also drive us to some serious heart-searching of our own. The spotlight is not simply shining on ‘them over there’ but also on us here in our own context. Baptists Together hold a common value; that we are a Movement which shares a hunger for God’s coming Kingdom and seeks to confront evil, injustice and hypocrisy and challenges worldly attitudes to power, wealth, status and security both within and beyond our Union. Right now God is presenting us with the opportunity to grow more deeply into this value and, in doing so, to unleash a prophetic call and presence in our communities and nations.”
The Baptists Together Core Leadership Team also released a statement:
“Like many in this country and across the world, we have been appalled and horrified by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by state police. We grieve with his family and community over his brutal mistreatment and the flagrant disregard for his humanity. We recognise that his inhumane treatment is symptomatic of a deeper devaluing of black lives, in particular black men and that his death has tapped into generations of anger and frustration as the result of systemic brutality and discrimination. We therefore completely understand the protests which have swept the United States as a natural and right consequence to this tragic injustice. But we hope and pray at this dangerous but pivotal moment, not only in the United States but in global history, that this will provide the urgent impetus to redress the social inequalities that has caused so much outrage.”
Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of the Methodist Conference released a statement on behalf of the Methodist Church in Britain:
“The brutal killing of George Floyd, who died at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, has prompted a wave of anger and revulsion around the world. As Christian people, we are appalled that someone could die in such a fashion and appalled also at the continued injustice which many Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people experience in many parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, and in many institutions, including, shamefully, the Methodist Church in Britain.
We therefore welcome and endorse the call of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement for radical action in addressing the causes of this injustice. The Methodist Church in Britain believes that racism is a denial of the gospel.”
The President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Dr Barbara Glasson also released her own personal message:
“As your President, I start by saying I am sorry. Sorry for being silent when we should have spoken out against the everyday injustices that affect BAME communities. I am sorry that, despite our efforts, we have not done enough for those who feel excluded and we need to do better. We know this includes people of all ages from the Windrush generation to the very young. I am sorry when we have not listened carefully enough and not challenged the assumptions of white privilege and bias.
Repentance can lead us to change, to embody a gracious, loving spirit of inclusion and understanding. There is no excuse for racism. All people are made in God’s image. We are one body in Christ Jesus.”
Karen Campbell, the United Reformed Church’s Secretary for Global and Intercultural Ministries, and the Moderators of the URC General Assembly, the Revd Nigel Uden and Derek Estill, said:
“Together with our sister Churches in the USA, the United Reformed Church declares that racism – in any form – is a sin against humanity, and a sin against God, who created all people in God’s own image and likeness.
Even as we condemn the violence meted against black communities in the USA, we recognise this violence as just one symptom of a deeply rooted issue impacting black communities and people of colour right across the globe.
The outcries following George Floyd’s death are testimony that many in these communities are tired of the injustice, tired of the struggle, tired of having their dignity undermined and their voices ignored.
As Christ’s Church, we must actively share in God’s particular concern for people who find themselves oppressed by systems of privilege and power.”
Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, the moderator of the Church of Scotland has also spoken out:
“Along with folks from around the world, we in Scotland have watched in horror at the turmoil that has spread from city to city across America in response to the death of 46-year-old George Floyd on the 25th May at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department. Several officers were summarily dismissed from their positions and one is to stand trial for murder.
The cry of ‘Black Lives Matter’ is heard again on the streets and the frustration of one more black life lost in such a fashion has erupted into a catastrophic round of destruction and violence.
We call particularly on people of faith to give expression to Jesus’ words that ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.’
In saying as much, and in committing ourselves to pray, we remain mindful that there are divisions within our own society which are every bit as ugly and life-denying and which rear their head all too often. Let us not rest while barriers between one person and another remain and where bridges need to be built.”