January 8, 2021
We the pastors and Church Council of Duke Memorial United Methodist Church in Durham, NC, appreciate the commitment to duty and courage of the legislators who, on Wednesday evening, conducted the business of the nation in the face of violence and endorsed the votes of all Americans in the election of our next president. We thank the law enforcement, Secret Service, and military personnel who placed themselves in danger to protect others. We pray for those killed, injured, or terrorized by the violence, and for those who feel unheard and unsupported.
At the same time, we denounce those who invoked the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus, during their violent assault on the United States Congress. Jesus calls us to reconciliation with God and with each other. When Jesus’ own disciples took up arms against Roman oppressors seeking to remove him and kill him, Jesus stopped the violence and healed the injured Roman. Jesus embodied self-sacrificing service for the sake of others, a willingness to die rather than violently insist on his own agenda. We are saved by Jesus, not by our violence.
As a church, we again commit to stand up and speak out against evil, oppression and injustice in whatever forms they present themselves as we seek to love as Jesus loved: not in ways sentimental but in ways that lead to justice, mercy, forgiveness and grace for all.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Hebrews 12:14-15)
2021 Church Council, Duke Memorial UMC
Rev. Heather Rodrigues, Lead Pastor
Rev. Jennifer Ingold Asbill, Minister of Children and Pastoral Care
Statement crafted by
Rev. Heather Rodrigues, Rev. Jennifer Ingold Asbill,
Rev. Renee Burnette, Jim Coble, and Gair McCullough