Bishop Easterling, Bishop Budde to lead public witness for justice, an end to racism

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling (left) and Bishop Marianne Budde lead United Methodists and Episcopalians respectively in the Washington, D.C. area.

 Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, the presiding bishop of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church will lead United Methodists in gathering with other people of faith to call for justice, call for systemic change and an end to racism, June 3, from 3 to 6 p.m., at St. John's Episcopal Church on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C.

At the invitation of the Right Rev. Marianne Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, United Methodists are encouraged to gather with other people of faith to witness for justice and call for an end to racism and white supremacy.

God's spirit ever calls, fills, and empowers us to be about God's justice, to live as anti-racists, and to uproot racism and racial injustice wherever it exists. This is not a temporal call. This is a call for a lifetime and an act of perfect love that grows with each just action.

 The gathering at the church, which is located across the street from the White House, will offer opportunities for persons to pray, offer witness and unite regarding next needed immediate actions.

On May 31, a fire was set in the basement of St. John's. Last night, President Donald Trump used the church as a backdrop to make a statement condemning the demonstrations against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death. Law enforcement used tear gas and flash-bangs to force the protesters out of the Lafayette Park area prior to the President's appearance. The protesters were denouncing the longstanding injustices experienced by black people that is encapsulated in the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.

 Those attending have been asked to observe safe practices because of the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone who attends must wear masks and observe social distancing. Gloves are optional. Clergy are asked to wear collars or stoles. Parking in the area is very limited; participants are asked to park their cars away from Lafayette Square and walk.

 As United Methodists prepare to observe Peace with Justice Sunday this Sunday, June 7, this gathering at St. John's is one step in our prayerful action to change our culture of institutionalized racism and create a culture of Beloved Community.