Our community, Hamilton Park, was rocked by gun violence on July 4, 2021. According to media reports, three young men — ages 22, 19, and 17 — were shot dead, and more persons were injured at a block party held in front of the Pacesetter School on Towns Street.
Our church quickly got involved. Why? United Methodists are engaged in the community. According to the United Methodist Social Principles:
The United Methodist Church believes God’s love for the world is an active and engaged love, a love seeking justice and liberty. We cannot just be observers. So we care enough about people’s lives to risk interpreting God’s love, to take a stand, to call each of us into a response, no matter how controversial or complex. The church helps us think and act out a faith perspective, not just responding to all the other ‘mind-makers-up’ that exist in our society…
Taking an active stance in society is nothing new for followers of John Wesley. He set the example for us to combine personal and social piety. Ever since predecessor churches to United Methodism flourished in the United States, we have been known as a denomination involved with people’s lives, with political and social struggles, having local to international mission implications. Such involvement is an expression of the personal change we experience in our baptism and conversion.”
I reached out to community leaders, leadership in the Dallas Police Department, and political leaders for conversation, and solutions. In response, our church will host two major events next week.
On Monday, July 12, the Dallas Police Department will utilize our parking lot to host a community event for conversation about the July 4th incident from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. We hope that all sectors of the community will attend.
On Thursday, July 15, we will host a luncheon from noon to 2:00 pm, with community leaders, leadership in the Dallas Police Department, and area political leaders to discuss what resources they can contribute to help the Hamilton Park area address the violence problem.
Church members, this is God’s work. Know that your church does not run away from trouble, but toward it. I ask that you cover us all in prayer. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are saved.” Proverbs 18:10
Dr. Sheron C. Patterson