First UMC of Germantown (FUMCOG) in Philadelphia will host an important racial dialogue Jan. 16, the day after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. The event will feature a United Methodist pastor who led efforts to foster peace in the face of tense protests in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, following the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman.
The Rev. F. Willis Johnson, Senior Pastor of Wellspring UMC in Ferguson, will share background, new information and personal insights about the violent death of young Michael Brown in August 2014 and the community’s response in the wake of the police shooting.
The killing and the response by law enforcement, the media, social activists, and local and national leaders held the nation’s attention–and indeed, the world’s–as violent outbursts amid peaceful protests helped spawn today’s growing, outspoken Black Lives Matter advocacy movement.
Johnson will lead the dialogue at FUMCOG on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 7 PM. Then he will preach on Sunday, Jan. 17, at the 11 AM worship service, during the church’s annual observance of Dr. King’s birthday, a tradition of more than 40 years. In addition, FUMCOG will present its 2016 Social and Racial Justice Award.
Johnson, who chaired Ferguson’s Human Rights Commission, played a key role in the community’s response to Michael Brown’s death and a grand jury’s decision to not indict Police Officer Darren Wilson following the presentation of evidence in his favor by the county prosecutor.
A minister for more than 15 years, Johnson received national attention for his leadership and influence in the community, fueled by his informed reflections and faith-driven strategies on social justice and racial understanding. He is a popular lecturer and discussion facilitator trained in education and nonprofit management.
FUMCOG, a diverse, progressive, 210-year-old congregation of almost 1,000 members, is located at 6001 Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia. Contact the church for more information at 215-438-3677 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adapted by John W. Coleman from a FUMCOG News Release
Download the flyer: FUMCOG Willis Johnson flyer (PDF)