By Laurie Oswald Robinson
Monday, November 2, 2020

Ann Jacobs, Church Relations representative, wrote a blog regarding the death of George Floyd at the hands of police brutality and the outpouring of protest. Here is an excerpt from that blog: 

"… In a review of the verse in 1 Corinthians 12:26, when one suffocates, we all suffocate. … We are God's ambassadors for reconciliation and love in a world reeling with hate and separation. The Spirit moved within me during my prayer and Ezekiel 22:30 emerged in my heart: 'I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land.'

"… The walls (structures) of our communities are falling down and crumbling through pandemic lock-down and the police brutality that is violating the bodies and souls of Black and Brown people; these same members of society are the most deeply impacted by the sufferings of COVID-19. …

"We must move beyond lamenting racism's evils with only words and hymns. We must rise from our prayer groups and from behind our hymnbooks and follow Jesus into the highways and byways. We must DO church with our feet and hands. That means acting to help dismantle the systems that sanction the murder of George Floyd and so many others.

"… Many Mennonites have sought to live godly and quiet lives to witness their faith, rather than messing with worldly powers. While yielding some fruits of the Spirit, this choice has often rendered us voiceless in the public square. If we are God's response to the world, then we need to take our songs and sermons of peace and justice out of our pews and into the pain. …

"… We are looking for God, and God is looking for us. God is calling to us to come from under the rubble of the crumbling walls and stand accounted for in the broad daylight. … 

"When God comes looking for someone to rebuild the walls, I pray we will be ready with tools in hand and willing hearts. May we be servants of reconstruction who dismantle the dividing wall of hostility and build a society of dignity for everyone, a renewal of the Spirit that offers life-sustaining breath for all."

Jacobs helped to reinstate the People of Color (POC) caucus within Mission Network in early June in response to Floyd's death. The POC caucus requested that White caucuses also form. Mission Network Human Resources department encouraged the caucuses to form in the spirit of the policy set forth June 3. In that policy, all staff members were invited to engage in anti-racism efforts from June 3 through Aug. 31 by taking a half-hour of their paid, daily work time to engage in prayer, reflection, education, rest and renewal, and action. 

"We bring our questions and emotions to these groups as we try to comprehend how deeply rooted systemic racism is in our society and how we, as White people, have been oblivious to it and thus complicit in enforcing it," said Lynda Hollinger-Janzen, a co-leader for one of the White caucus groups. "We share current events and try to understand how God is calling us to break the cycles of violence." 

Stories in the series:

Introduction: A tale of two worlds and one God of abundant hope

Story 1: Distributing care packages; reformatting ministries

Story 2: Providing an emotional-spiritual "vaccine" for isolation

Story 3: Praying and caring for supporters

Story 4: Persevering in Christian Service programs

Story 5: Dismantling systemic racism





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​Laurie Oswald Robinson is editor at Mennonite Mission Network.




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