Council of Bishops Press Release
May 25, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church President Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton today urged clergy and laity to go on offense to stop mass shootings like the one that killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas.
“My “statement” today is quite simple: Let’s go on the offense. If you are a pastor, weave our theology of a lived-out faith into sermons that challenge people to convert their fears, angers, racist tendencies, and complicit behaviors into a mobilized witness of the power of God to do far more than we could ever dream of or imagine,” Bishop Bickerton said.
He called on the laity too: “If you are a lay person, determine today how you will take the faith you nurture each week in a pew to the streets, the places where you work, and the homes where you live. If you are a church body, don’t settle for just active shooter training. Determine that you will actively work to transform lives from violence to peace, elect officials that will not settle for inaction, and inject communities with the grace and love of Christ that will alter the course of our current behaviors.”
Writing on behalf of the COB, Bishop Bickerton said he refuses to see this period of our lives as a permanent time of disarray. “Instead, I choose to see this an interim time, a time that will not remain as it is, a time that will not be the standard upon which we experience the life we have been blessed to live. As United Methodists we embrace a gospel and a mission that we state has the power to transform the world.”
The call today is for every United Methodist Christian to go on the offense, stating what we believe the power of God can do in our midst, opening ourselves to power of God at work within us, and doing whatever we can to alter the current course of behavior once and for all.