Social Justice Efforts-Historical & Current

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. ... Psalm 23:1-6

 

The Gateway Free Methodist Conference stands with everyone in our nation calling for justice in the tragic death of George Floyd. We also call for continued effort to improve enforcement procedure and accountability in all municipalities. The peaceful protests occurring in many of our major cities and towns not only reflect the anger over the death of Mr. Floyd but also represent years of frustration. This frustration is over episodes of recurrent injustice and unequal treatment experienced by African Americans and people of color in communities all across this nation. At times for some it must feel like living each day in the shadow of death.

 

We are also saddened by the looting, destruction of property and loss of innocent life of this past week. As Dr. Martin Luther King said, 

“A riot is the language of the unheard” yet “Let me say as I’ve always said, and I will always continue to say, that riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. I’m still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice."

 

Gateway celebrates the love of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for the lost as well as the disenfranchised. For this reason, we lift high and are thankful for any thoughtful action to support justice that displays the fruit of the Spirit. May we be the people of God for a lost, weary and downcast society. May we fear no evil. May we walk the path of righteousness.

 

On this day, as the family of George Floyd prepares to lay their son, their brother, their friend to rest on June 9th, let us not lay to rest our desire for a better future for our community, our state, our nation. Let us not grow weary of reaching for the justice he ought to have experienced. Let us also not easily excuse acts that defame, degrade and destroy collaborative efforts for peace and improvement.  Gateway pastors, leaders and members know we are called through Jesus Christ to imagine and claim a better future. Let us pray, discuss and ask each other difficult questions to build a shared Christ-FULL understanding of the path forward for us all. May our cup overflow.

 

On the Journey,

 

Supt. Ben


Click here for FMCUSA Bishops Response to Racial Tensions


Click here for Gateway Conference Prayer Meeting with Rev. Kenny and Estelle Martin for a time of prayerful lament and healing


Click here for Racial Unity-A Position Paper of the FMCUSA


In Alton Illinois, one of our FM Pastors, Peter Hough, with financial support from the Gateway Conference, has led a incredible community policing project to improve Alton. It should be a model for communities around the nation to begin instituting lasting policing improvements.


Click here for information on the ground-breaking Community Policing Study in Alton, Illinois


2019 Book of Discipline for the Free Methodist Church:

"The Free Methodist Church was itself born out of a desire to stand against the evil of slavery and we continue to recognize the sin of racism and oppose it in all its forms. We do so with the following convictions:

...Because systemic racism – the way in which human institutions or structures can both actively and passively preserve patterns of discrimination and exclusion – is less perceptible, but no less harmful than overt, individual racist acts, we commit, not just to avoid or sanction individual prejudicial attitudes and actions, but seek to redeem processes, systems and institutions that continue to perpetuate injustice on the basis of race or ethnicity."