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WCC expresses solidarity with churches and people in Ferguson shooting

21 August 2014

In the wake of a racially charged police shooting in the state of Missouri, United States, “the efforts of the churches, faith communities, ecumenical and interfaith partners and civil society organizations and coalitions that have called for prayer, calm, peaceful protest, and open and honest dialogue on racism and issues of class” have received support and encouragement from the World Council of Churches (WCC).

Writing to the Interfaith Partnership of Greater Saint Louis, general secretary of the WCC, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit praised area churches and religious communities that have sought an end to conflict in the aftermath of “the tragic killing by a police officer of Michael Brown, an unarmed eighteen-year-old African American man, and the dangerous escalation of violence in the several days following.”

Tveit also praised their common efforts toward building peace, the promotion of healing within the community and a process of reconciliation at local and national levels.

On Monday, Jim Winkler, president and general secretary of the National Council of Churches in the U.S.A., deplored the killing of Michael Brown and others like it, called for a thorough investigation of the shooting, and drew attention to the larger issues raised by such deaths.

“These killings, as well as those of hundreds of other Americans each year at the hands of increasingly militarized police forces [are] of great and growing concern. A peaceful, healthy society requires trust and positive relationships between citizens and law enforcement. That can best occur in circumstances in which deep-seated social problems such as racism and inequality are being addressed,” said Winkler.

Reiterating the WCC’s condemnation of “the use of violence as a means of resolving conflicts,” Tveit assured the family of Michael Brown and the wider community of “the prayers of this global fellowship of churches,” and support for “honest examination and reform related to policing policies and practices.”

Full text of the letter to the Interfaith Partnership from the WCC

Statement on Michael Brown’s death by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

A prayer for Ferguson offered by the leadership of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

A report from the region’s bishop of the United Methodist Church

An account from a Saint Louis pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Message on Ferguson Crisis from Christian Church (Disciples of Christ in United States and Canada)

WCC member churches in the United States of America