Brentwood United Methodist Church held a time for public witness on Thursday for 8 minutes, 48 seconds of prayer and witness against police brutality and racial violence.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rev. Allison Gossett, lead pastor of adult ministries at BUMC, invited other clergy and lay leaders from the church to join her on the front lawn of the property, where social distancing could be put into place. Attendees were asked to wear a mask as that is a policy at BUMC.
Gossett began the witness time with prayer and then set her clock for 8 minutes, 48 seconds to allow attendees to realize how long of a time that really is. Bishop Bill McAlilly, from Nashville Episcopal Area United Methodist Church, also encouraged area-wide participation in a time of public witness.
Renee Franklin, from Dixon Memorial United Methodist Church, attended representing her congregation. Using her time of witness, she sang a meaningful song that spoke to current events.
Speaking out about his own experience as a pastor, minority advocate and former President of the NAACP Rev. Keith Caldwell spoke about having a bullseye placed at his home earlier this year and how his brothers and sisters in Christ came to him offering their love and support.
Attendees also shared readings, poetry and prayers with one another at the public witness, and at the end, Rev. Laura Brantley, lead pastor of caring and family ministries at BUMC, closed out the time in prayer.
This display of public witness was not a one-time event. Gossett, who has taken the lead with these tough yet needed topics, is planning events within the church and in conjunction with other churches. On Thursday, June 25 from 4:30-6:30 p.m., an event entitled “Prophetic Speech: An Anti-Racial Workshop” is planned on the lawn of Glendale United Methodist Church in Nashville.
Dr. Rip Patton will speak about the historic Freedom Riders Movement in Nashville and hear from others who are leading racial justice work in Nashville every day. When finished, attendees will leave knowing what steps to take to address racial injustice in the community.
Speakers at the workshop will include Caldwell, Gossett and Patton, a civil rights activist and veteran of the Freedom Riders.
To learn more or register to attend, visit the BUMC Facebook page.