After grand jury rulings, what is the church’s witness?

Church of the Village, a multiracial United Methodist congregation in New York City, has been trying to find ways to witness to justice. On Sunday, Nov. 30, congregants after worship took a photo to show solidarity with nonviolent protesters in Ferguson. Church members showed the “Hands up, don’t shoot” gesture.

Retired Bishop Alfred Johnson, pastor, said he understands his frustrated members’ desire to respond to recent grand jury decisions to not indict police officers who have killed unarmed black citizens. As an African-American male, he noted, he was stopped and frisked by police more times than he could count when he lived in Philadelphia.

“We want to give people a way to respond, not just to hold it in, but to find a way to do something positive,” said Johnson, a former Philadelphia pastor and district superintendent. “As the Scripture says, be angry but don’t sin (Ephesians 4:26). Read more of Heather Hahn’s UMNS story.