We, the members of Vale United Methodist Church, condemn the violence in Washington, D.C. and at our nation’s Capitol Building that caused the loss of life, injuries, destruction of property and the disruption of our democratic process on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. We cannot stand by without speaking up to reject the behavior we have witnessed and share a Christian call to action. In our baptismal liturgy we commit to “accept the freedom and power God gives [us] to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” We renew our commitment to this baptismal vow and “renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of [our] sin.” For too long, the sin of violence driven by hate, racism, political bigotry, inequity, and white supremacy has loomed over our country and world.

Violence of any form is incompatible with Christian teaching. Elevating the powers and principalities of this world over Christ is heresy of the highest order. Scripture calls us “to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8). We call on all people of faith to reject the violence we have seen on display in our world and to recommit to loving our neighbors (Mark 12:31).

There is much work to be done in bringing about the Kingdom of God but that work is not done through force. This work is done through the fellowship of ministry around dinner tables and social halls where love is shared. This work is done through the fellowship of ministry in feeding the hungry and clothing the naked as Jesus taught us (Matthew 25:31-40). This work is done through the ministry of prophetic speaking against violence committed in the name of God. As we remember Baptism of Our Lord Sunday, we call on all local congregations to reaffirm their baptismal vows.

Vale United Methodist Church calls on our leaders and those in authority to prosecute all violators. Vale Church also calls on our community to pray for unity and a better way forward as we mourn the destruction in the Capitol, injuries sustained in violence and the loss of life on January 6. May we all enter into this New Year committed to listening to our neighbor, learning what we can, speaking for those that are not heard, and acting in positive ways.