Churches Uniting in Christ

The Reverend Robina M. Winbush, President
Mrs. Jacquelyn Dupont Walker, Vice President
The Reverend Dr. Jean Hawxhurst, Secretary
The Reverend Dr. Robert Welsh, Treasurer


March 28, 2012
A Statement on the Killing of Trayvon Martin

We write as leaders of churches who have covenanted through Churches Uniting in Christ to address the sin of
racism that divides us in our churches and in society. We write as pastors who have baptized and welcomed into membership children to whom the fullness of God’s grace for their lives has been extended. We write as parents of children for whom we have prayed and work to build a nation and a world in which all children are free to live their lives, using the gifts God grants them. We write because we understand that when any child cries out for help, it is the duty of the Church to respond with life-affirming love and justice.

We write because we cannot remain silent as our country once again struggles with the senseless killing of an
unarmed young African American boy. We write because we cannot remain silent at the continued “criminalization” of black and brown peoples with laws that give license to people to shoot first and ask questions later (the so-called “stand your ground” legislation). We write because we are appalled at a local justice system that has presumed the guilt of a dead child and has failed to thoroughly investigate his killing. We write because we recognize that any of our black and brown children could be Trayvon Martin. The words of the prophet Micah speak to us: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

So our first word is to Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, the parents of Trayvon, his family, friends, and community in their grief. Our hearts are bleeding with you as we mourn the death of Trayvon and the loss of his potential contribution. However, we pray that his death will not be in vain, but that there will emerge in our nation a new consciousness that challenges the assumptions and fears rooted in racism and xenophobia. We commit to continue to raise the underlying issues of Trayvon’s killing in our churches and wider society until the day truly comes when all of our children can walk in any neighborhood without fear or being feared.

Our second word is to the Florida 4th District Attorney and U.S. District Attorney offices. We join with and support our colleagues in the Florida Council of Churches calling for an expedient and unbiased investigation into this killing that will bring justice for Trayvon, peace for his family, and security for our children

Our third word is to our congregations and all people of faith and good will. As tragic as Trayvon’s death is, this is also a teachable moment and a time for a bold witness. It is a time to understand the privilege that some of us have to walk freely without the presumption of criminality because of the color of our skin. It is a time to understand the burden that some of us have to live always facing the stereotypes of others and the danger that these stereotypes might cost us our lives. In humility, we invite the Body of Christ to join in serious self-examination about how our communities by our silence support racial profiling and stereotyping. We invite you to offer prayers in weekly worship services, using resources such as those available through the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference ( and to join with congregations across racial lines in your local community to strategize together for corrective actions. We invite our congregations to join together and study the laws of states and local communities that allow one to “shoot first and ask questions later.”

Our final word is to our children. We hear many Trayvons crying for help. We commit ourselves to continue to
work for a world where you can walk freely, fulfill your God-given purpose, and not live in fear or be feared. In
this Lenten season, we are ever mindful of the defenseless killing of Jesus, the One whom we know as Lord and
Savior. We are also mindful of the Resurrection and its demonstration that evil does not have the last word, but
God’s overcoming goodness prevails. This is the hope with which we live our lives, and this is the hope we share with you.

In Unity and Justice,

David R. Daniels, Jr.
President of the Council of Bishops
African Methodist Episcopal Church

Sharon E. Watkins
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Thomas J. Hoyt
Senior Bishop
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rev. Donald H. Ashmall
Council Minister
International Council of Community Churches

Elizabeth D. Miller
President, Provincial Elders’ Conference
Moravian Church (Northern Province)

Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (USA)

Geoffrey A. Black
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ

Bishop Larry Goodpaster
President of the Council of Bishops
United Methodist Church


Churches Uniting in Christ is a covenant relationship among ten Christian communions that have pledged to live more closely together in expressing their unity in Christ and combating racism together. The member churches of CUIC include the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church,the International Council of Community Churches, the Moravian Church (Northern Province), the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a partner in mission and dialogue.