Local ministers respond to Floyd's death

Staff Writer

After the recent death of George Floyd, the Malvern Ministers Conference issued a statement calling for “justice in his name and in the names of countless others who have met an untimely and unjust end.”

Bishop Robert G. Rudolph Jr. with Calvary Church of God in Christ, who prepared the statement for the conference, said that when he saw news of Floyd’s death he was concerned and reminded of this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”

“The Malvern Ministers Conference strongly condemns the murder of George Floyd and the deadly violence perpetrated against people of color by law enforcement in America. Begging for his life, ‘please, I can’t breathe,’ were spoken by an unarmed, handcuffed and subdued black man killed last Monday by police in Minneapolis. For George Floyd to be arrested on an alleged non-violent charge and later die in part because of the type of brutality caught on video is totally unacceptable,” according to the statement.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family and the entire Minneapolis community. We pray that God will comfort them during this most difficult time. Officer Derek Chauvin ground his knee into the back of Mr. Floyd’s neck and held it there for approximately eight minutes while other officers stood watching. Mr. Floyd’s appeals for help all went unheard.
“For us to remain silent after witnessing this incident is not the action that should be taken. As leaders of the Christian community we cannot remain silent. This type of deadly violence against any people by law enforcement in America in wrong. While we do not condone rioting or looting in response to this incident, we are mindful of the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ‘… riot is the language of the unheard.’
Therefore, we the members of the Malvern Ministers Conference take this opportunity to speak on behalf of the church community. We unequivocally affirm that George Floyd was a child of God, precious and valuable, that his life mattered, and that all lives matter.
We unequivocally condemn the evil plague of white supremacy, racism and anti-black bigotry.
We denounce those who call on the name of Christ while using oppression to kill black and the other non-white people.
We challenge and implore the city of Minneapolis, every city and town in America, and the faith community across the nation to work earnestly against racially motivated hatred and violence so that the clarion cry of the Prophet Amos may be fulfilled: ‘Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’ (Amos 5:24).
The Jesus that we preach demanded that we love our neighbor, welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, minister to the sick and care for the least of these. That mandate requires that we both express sadness and anger over the senseless and brutal murder of George Floyd, who asked for mercy, but was subjected to pain and death. We call for justice in his name and in the names of countless others who have met an untimely and unjust end.
In the name of the almighty, we must do what the Lord requires. ‘to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.’ (Micah 6:8)”

According to Dr. James N. McCollum with First Missionary Baptist Church in Rockport, the Malvern Ministers Conference was founded as a way for churches and families across the community to work together.
There were nine churches involved at the start.
The conference also participates in several communities events and helps those in need.
“We carry a positive message for the Lord and our community,” said J.O.T. Lea with Greater New Hope Church.

In connection with Floyd’s death, Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder and three other officers were fired.
In recent days, there have been protests across the state and country.
Pastor Rodrick McCollum with First Missionary Baptist Church in Rockport ask that people who protest do so peacefully.
“We don’t have to rob, loot, steal or cause any harm to anybody,” McCollum said. “We can still do things peacefully.”

In his daily press conference, Gov. Asa Hutchinson addressed recent protests while calling Floyd’s death “senseless.”
“I understand the outrage, the disappointment, the fear and the distrust that is prevalent in a community, in African Americans, that calls them to come out and to demonstrate and to protest,” Hutchinson said.
“Let’s not let violence and destruction of property ... undermine the message that is so important that is being conveyed by the demonstrators,” he added.