Advocacy

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Bishop issues call to discipleship in wake of mass shootings

Bishop Kenneth Carter speaks at a press conference. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNews.
Bishop Kenneth H. Carter speaks to the press following the conclusion of the 2019 United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS.

Following the recent tragedies in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Council of Bishops President Ken Carter has issued a call to United Methodists to help put an end to the white supremacy and xenophobia that are driving many of these acts of violence and hatred against immigrants, minorities and other innocent persons.

In a statement released on Aug. 6, 2019, Carter wrote, “Underneath the violence is a culture of white supremacy and a fear of immigrants (xenophobia). These are expressions of our sinful nature, and deny the image of God (Genesis 1) that is in every person. Christ died for all (2 Corinthians 5), and in this he loved us and gave himself up for us (Ephesians 5)."

Carter's statement followed on the heels of earlier statements from Bishop Gregory Palmer and Bishop Earl Bledsoe, who serve the annual conferences of West Ohio and New Mexico where the mass shootings took place. (Note: Although located in the state of Texas, El Paso is in the New Mexico Annual Conference).

Carter stressed the need for United Methodists from both political parties to come together in a spirit of peaceful dialogue. "We are in desperate need of leadership that does not pit us against each other. And we are in need of a dialogue that is deeply rooted in our discipleship in the way of our non-violent Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ," said Carter. He also asked for United Methodists in Europe, the Philippines and Africa to support their American brothers and sisters through their prayers and continued witness.

Read the press release from the Council of Bishops.

Originally published Aug. 6, 2019.