Dear friends in Christ,
Our hearts are heavy as we experience with our friends in Elizabeth City the death of Andrew Brown, Jr., by gunshots fired by police. We pray for those closest to him, including Patrice Revelle, his children, and his grandmother Lydia Brown. We pray for the entire community – for elected civic leadership and for police officers, including those whose actions led to the death of Mr. Brown.
Our clergy in Elizabeth City have joined with AMEZ and other community clergy to offer shepherding presence. We give thanks for their prophetic and pastoral ministry. District Superintendent Gil Wise offers these comments and a prayer for this moment in our lives and our ministry with all people. Thank you for remembering this prayer request as you lead worship tomorrow and gatherings next week.
Serving Christ with you in these times,
Hope Morgan Ward
Social Unrest Exposes Brokenness
Elizabeth City has become a part of the story that consumes our society. Another death, another police officer, and another time of questioning why did this happen. Where does it all end? Where is God in all of this troublesome time?
The AMEZ Church and The UMC in Elizabeth City continue to work together, present with the community to provide a place to listen to pain while offering the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is an abundance of pain. The pain of losing a family member to death. The pain of an officer who carries the pain of their actions. The pain of nationwide injustice becoming a reality in our own area. Our world continues to be full of pain. One truth remains: Hurting people hurt people. The cycle continues, and we are deeply grieved.
God, long-suffering in love, through Christ Jesus, brings us to our knees in humility as we acknowledge the pain that we carry and the pain we inflict. God’s presence in Christ seeks to disarm hatred, injustice, anger, and brokenness. The love that God brings is unlike any love we have known or any love that this world produces.
What the world does need now is love, but not any love. Only God’s love can speak into the depth of pain and the loss of life. Putting on Christ must be more than empty words. Let us pray that the reality of Christ’s love will be made manifest in each of us. Let us abide in Christ so that the nature of Christ becomes our nature. We cannot afford to offer anything less than God’s love as offered to us in Christ.
Please pray with me this prayer:
Lord Jesus, may your hope, the hope of glory, pervade every life in the Elizabeth City area. Heal the brokenness in us all. Transform us to offer your love instead of our hurt. We confess our anger and our hurt to you. Use us as instruments of your love as we listen to our neighbors. Pour out the presence of your Holy Spirit, blanketing us with your strength that in your love injustice will be arrested and that the cycle of hate will be halted. In the power of Christ, we stand. For Justice. For the love of my Neighbor. That Christ’s way shall be established. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Winning them to Jesus,
Beacon District Superintendent