Statement on Mr. George Floyd and Nationwide Protests

The flames and winds that Christians celebrate at Pentecost this year have become flames of anger and winds of rage engulfing America. At Phillips Theological Seminary, as we have watched the multiple events from the week of May 25-29 including the death of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis and the cellular phone call of Ms. Amy Cooper in New York City’s Central Park, our hearts are full of compassion and our spirits are re-ignited to serve the call of justice which brings peace.

We mourn with the family and friends of Mr. George Floyd. Because his life has been reduced to the spectacle of his death, we pray for his family and circle of friends as they gather to say their final farewells to one whom they loved.

We also pray for the United States of America in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a nation embattled through confrontation and protests associated with Mr. Floyd’s death. Even as we know there is a time and season for everything under the sun, our spiritual commitment sees this as the time to make real the promise of liberty and justice for all.

Every life is a gift from God. Our hearts are breaking as we witness the devaluing of humanity and the desecration of community.

In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. posed the question, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? As we view the chaos erupting across America–some violence wrought by supremacists intent on agitating a race war–we are committed to the values that encourage, restore, and build community. We are praying for peace, advocating for justice, and working to support faith leaders on the front lines of this battle for the soul of America.

This Pentecost may the gospel fire of justice and the spirit-filled winds of new life for our communities and nations blow through all of us as we walk with our siblings in the way of Jesus.

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Claire Pittman

President and Stephen J. England Associate Professor of Ministry