As rallies and protests continue across the United States and Canada in response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, the five regional churches of Mennonite Church Canada released a statement yesterday asking congregations to set a specific time of prayer this coming Sunday, June 7.
The statement asks congregations “to join our sister churches in Mennonite Church USA as they lament the injustice and violence suffered by people of colour in the U.S.”
It is signed by the executive staff group of MC Canada, a group made up of the head of each regional church as well as Doug Klassen, MC Canada’s executive minister.
“This nationwide call to prayer is a call for the church to boldly stand against racism that rips apart the social fabric of both of our countries,” the statement says. “As a church, we speak for a God who made all persons in the image of the Creator’s likeness. We are called to raise our voices and prayers and denounce the evil that racism inflicts upon our fellow human beings.
“In our regional churches across Mennonite Church Canada, many of our congregations are made up of people of colour. We stand in solidarity with them during this troubling time and choose to confront the ugly underbelly of racism among us. We recognize that many of us within the church are not fully aware of our complicity in systemic racism. We ask that those in the dominant culture acknowledge white privilege and what are feeble efforts to support brothers and sisters of colour in the church and in larger society. As we confess our sin, may God grant us courage, wisdom and boldness to speak truth both to ourselves and to those in power.
“We share the words of Glen Guyton, executive director of Mennonite Church USA: ‘I am calling on all MC USA congregations to have a time of prayer on Sunday, June 7, to lament the violence, pain and injustice that is plaguing our country. I ask that you pray for compassionate and wise leadership for our country during this time. … The violence and unrest that is happening now is not an accident; it is what the system is designed to do, and it jeopardizes all of us, not just people of color. Stand with the marginalized in your communities. If you have the power of privilege, use it as a shield to protect people of color who don’t have it. Use your voice and your power to prompt action from local government officials. Create spaces for reconciliation, healing and hope.’
“As people of God’s peace, please join in prayer this Sunday, June 7. Pray for God’s peace and justice in our communities, for an end to discrimination and violence, the championing of human rights, just political leadership, the humility to confess our individual and social sins and a willingness to repent and to boldly embrace the peace of Jesus Christ. Pray that the Holy Spirit might heal and renew our personal lives, the church, and the social fabric of our two countries. Please use the worship and prayer resources listed here and share your own with your congregation.”
What lingers in the air