By MC USA staff
(Mennonite Church USA) — Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) released a statement on racial injustice today in response to events surrounding the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The statement calls for its congregations “to stand in solidarity with communities of color, walk alongside them and, indeed, be led by them.”
“Our historic peace church needs to speak to the growing injustice in our country,” said Glen Guyton, executive director of MC USA, in an impassioned open letter to the denomination that accompanied the statement. “Along with thoughts and prayers, we need action. We need to be unified around who we are as transformative peacemakers…”
Guyton, an African American and the first person of color to lead the denomination, also calls all MC USA congregations to unite in prayer to “lament the violence, pain and injustice plaguing our country,” while encouraging congregations to actively seek peace in their own communities.
The denomination’s statement on racial injustice acknowledges the structural oppression and racial inequities in our society, naming white supremacy, institutionalized violence and police brutality and drawing a parallel to Jesus’ own unjust execution. It also addresses two difficult 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)
In response, MC USA urges congregations to “continue to pray for, seek out and lend [their] voices and bodies to God’s healing, justice and peace.”
“We need to engage in more costly peacemaking, rooted in radical discipleship, which seeks to dismantle systems of oppression.” -Glen Guyton, executive director of MC USA
Guyton amplifies the need for action in his letter, saying, “We need to engage in more costly peacemaking, rooted in radical discipleship, which seeks to dismantle systems of oppression.” He encouraged the church to #BringThePeace, a reference to the denomination’s current peacemaking initiative.
MC USA also concurrently 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.
For more information on MC USA’s peacebuilding efforts, visit http://mennoniteusa.org/what-we-do/peacebuilding/.
An Anabaptist Christian denomination, Mennonite Church USA is the largest Mennonite denomination in the United States, comprised of 16 conferences, approximately 530 congregations and 62,000 members.