Superintendents Letter - 8th July 2020
Below is this week's letter from our Superintendents, a follow up to Racial Justice Sunday and the inspiring and challenging Racial Justice District Service which many of us joined in with this week.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Birmingham Methodist Circuit,
‘Let justice roll down like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’. Amos 5:24
These are the prophetic words of Amos, an ordinary shepherd from Tekoa, called by God to leave the familiarity of the hills of the southern kingdom and go to prophesy to the people of Israel in the northern kingdom. He was not from the prophetic tradition, but was open to what was happening in the world. When he heard God speak, he was impelled to speak out; there was no going back as he explained in his own words: “The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy?” Amos 2:8
Over the past few weeks, many of us may have been struggling with the question ‘What do we do now?’ following the death of George Floyd and the opening of our eyes to the evil of racism in our society. Black Liberation Theologian, ProfAnthony Reddie says:
“Hopefully, once you see something and know it, you cannot unknow it, and not being able to unknow it, means that more ordinary people, who thought this had nothing to do with them, will now realise that for the cause of peace and justice and for a better, equitable way of being human in the world, change needs to happen and they will be committed to that change.”
Amos was charged with the task of bringing back justice to Israel’s society and carried an uncomfortable message to God’s covenant people. It was not what the people of Israel wanted to hear, living in their great houses and enjoying their lavish lifestyles. He spoke to them of God’s disdain for their elaborate worship, their sacrificial offerings, their empty religion and noisy songs and Amos powerfully called for justice and right living to flood the kingdom of God’s covenant people.
God’s lament for the state of the house of Israel is followed by judgement on those who oppress the poor, who crush the needy (4:1) but there may be some room for hope and an opportunity for forgiveness if they “seek good and not evil” (5:14), so that they may live.
What task are we charged with as the people called Methodists today?
Last Sunday was Racial Justice Sunday and the Birmingham Methodist District online service was one of the most powerful and moving acts of worship that many of us have ever had the privilege to share in. It was a deeply disturbing, prophetic message from our black brothers and sisters, who equally bear the image of God, sharing their painful experiences of racism with us. We commend it to you and as a prophetic action encourage you to share it with family and friends as we continue to build a movement for change. You can watch it below or find it on YouTube here.
Those of us with white privilege have a responsibility to speak out against racism, to recognise our complicity in the structural and systemic racism in society and to stand in solidarity with people of colour until racism is eradicated.
God calls us as followers of Christ, to walk the way of the cross together and to hold fast to the promise of the resurrection and new life to come. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; do not be discouraged for I am your God” (Isaiah 41:10)
Please come and join the Zoom conversation at the Birmingham District meeting on 23rd July at 7pm and together we can make a difference. Contact Reverend Neil Johnson for an invite link.
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, then you have never shared a bed with a mosquito.” (Desmond Tutu)
Grace & peace be with you all.
Alison, Nick & Neil
Get in Touch
You can contact a member of the circuit team, including the Superintendents, by visiting our contact us page here.