As pastors, we have not regularly communicated openly and lovingly with each other in the past, but we now seek to converse honestly about sensitive subjects, out of which we pray genuine reconciliation moves all of our citizens forward. We desire peace birthed in justice. As such we are also committed to teach our congregations to live godly lives, to seek justice as modeled by Jesus, and to raise our voices for the vulnerable and the oppressed. We commit to lay down our lives for the sake of Christ's calling to radical love [John 15:13].
Addressing Inequities in Local Law Enforcement
MCPN see no contradiction in supporting some of the concerns of the Black Lives Matter Movement, standing with those victimized by excessive police force and on the other hand supporting our local police. These concerns are not mutually exclusive and must work in unison.
It saddens us that our country’s minority citizens are subjected to repeated incidents of unwarranted suspicion, stops and searches, and to hear of the killing of unarmed citizens like Darrius Stewart in the summer of 2015. We are also saddened by the disrespect toward our local police by unlawful citizens and the senseless murder of police officers anywhere, recently in Dallas and Baton Rouge. We commit to follow every reasonable complaint of injustice from members in our particular congregations or from the community at large, and insist it is sufficiently investigated. If wrong is proven, we want perpetrators properly disciplined and those victimized properly compensated. We may also participate in lawful and peaceful public demonstrations to express our outrage or sorrow over societal injustices. (Exodus 1:15-21; Acts 4:18-20)
MCPN pledges to employ our pastoral, prophetic and priestly gifts, which are our “core competencies,” by modeling the totality of the gospel through preaching, teaching and healing. We believe that the Church is designated to be the ‘conscience and compassion’ arm of our city by identifying wrong and rectifying them. Our Christian calling compels us to work towards fair laws for our city/state, thus we present to our Clergy brothers and sisters ambitious but achievable objectives.
Worship and work together in our various neighborhoods cultivating empathetic relationships between pastors and bridging the “trust gap” between Clergy Leaders
Work with the Mayor's office to be included in CLERB (Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board) and to design a congregational system in which church members or community residents can report police abuses.
Elect a subcommittee, chaired by a member of the EC to work with Memphis Crime Commission to access primary data and provide analysis of said data. This sub-committee will specifically oversee, compile, and evaluate racial disparities in law enforcement justice issues, beginning with arrests through sentencing.
Encourage joint conversations and activities between pastors, church members, police officials and victims of violence.
Convene quarterly for earnest face to face prayers, mutual encouragement and to share successful practices regarding issues of injustice and reduction of violence in our communities.
Charge the EC with proposing to MCPN proven initiatives regarding items a-e in section one above.
To accomplish these ambitious goals, we have hired a full-time Executive Director for our Network. He will research, report and exert sustained pressure to accomplish our objectives. This person reports to the MCPN Executive Committee. Funding is provided annually from the participating churches.