Baltimore Christians Respond to Rioting

In the aftermath of the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray after alleged mistreatment at the hands of Baltimore City Police:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/28/us/baltimore-freddie-gray.html

This from the Baltimore Washington Conference headquarters of the United Methodist Church:

URGENT – BALTIMORE CITY CONGREGATIONS

The Rev. Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, superintendent of the Baltimore Metropolitan District spent Monday evening praying and walking for peace with the city’s pastors through the streets of Baltimore.

Because Baltimore’s school are closing Tuesday in the wake of the rioting, Moore-Koikoi is calling on United Methodist churches to open their doors to the city’s children, whose parents may need childcare to go to work.

Bishop Marcus Matthews continues to ask all United Methodists to pray for justice and God’s shalom for all people.

This from the New York Times article:

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: “Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs,” she said. “I’m at a loss for words. It is idiotic to think that by destroying your city that you’re going to make life better for anybody.”

This from the New York Times article:

Pastor Jamal Bryant, who delivered Mr. Gray’s eulogy, came back to the neighborhood after the burial on Monday afternoon to appeal for calm. He said he would send teams of men from his church, the Empowerment Temple, to help keep the peace.

“This is not what the family asked for, today of all days,” Mr. Bryant said. “For us to come out of the burial and walk into this is absolutely inexcusable.” He said he was “asking every young person to go back home,” adding, “it’s frustration, anger and it’s disrespect for the family.”

from Pastor Jamal Bryant’s eulogy:  “He had to have been asking himself, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ ” Mr. Bryant said. “He had to feel at age 25 like the walls were closing in on him.”

Mr. Bryant insisted that Mr. Gray’s death would not “be in vain.” He vowed that Baltimore residents would “keep demanding justice” but also issued a pointed rebuke to the congregation, telling members that black people must take control of their lives and force the government and police to change.

“This is not the time for us as a people to be sitting on the corner drinking malt liquor,” he roared, as his voice rose and the congregation, clapping, rose to its feet. “This is not the time for us to be playing the lottery or at the horsing casino, this is not the time for us to be walking down with our pants hanging down.”

He said, “Get your black self up and change this city!” and added, “I don’t know how you can be black in America and be silent. With everything we’ve been through, ain’t no way in the world you can sit here and be silent in the face of injustice.”