Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, released this statement regarding violence at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” – Matthew 5:9 (NIV)
The violent storming of the U.S. Capitol during the certification of the 2020 presidential election results was disturbing, disorienting and deplorable – but we cannot allow it to define who we are.
We have witnessed many protests over the past year – most of them peaceful, some leading to violence. What took place at the Capitol today was an assault on the very foundation of our nation – on the freedoms and democratic principles we all hold dear.
We pray for comfort, for healing, and for peace for all those affected by the violence.
As I said this past spring, when South Carolina demonstrations against racial injustice were overshadowed by the actions of people with malicious intent – violence and destruction are never the answer to whatever grievances or outrage we may feel.
As United Methodists and people of faith, we know this, we feel this, we live this. Still, as we try to make sense of what we have seen today, it can be difficult to maintain hope for the future of our country. Where do we go from here?
While we might not know the answer to that question, we do know two things – we are charged to be peacemakers, and we can only fulfill that charge by taking one step at a time.
One prayer at a time.
One conversation at a time.
One small act of reconciliation at a time.
Show up, serve, witness and pray. Always, pray.
As we move forward together, let our protest be peaceful, let our strength be our unity, and let our actions reflect the glory of the Lord.
My friends, let’s take the next faithful step together.
Grace and peace,
L. Jonathan Holston