BROCKTON – Believers in Brockton pray for peace and equality in the face of police abuse and racial injustice.
But it will take more than prayer, said a church leader.
“Prayer is a beginning that lays the proper foundation for the work that needs to be done,” said Reverend Manny Daphnis, pastor of the Restoration Community Church on Center Street. “Prayer is important, it’s the cornerstone, it’s the foundation. We really think this moment is about this mandate. This mandate is to move from a place of prayer to a place of action. This action that we know is the result of empowerment and inspiration from the Lord, to bring about change in our city and in our world Prayer prompts us to act.
After weeks of social unrest and protests across the country following the deaths of George Floyd and other black people at the hands of police, Brockton places of worship hosted a coordinated prayer event on Wednesday evening, calling for the power to take action to create peace and eliminate racial injustice. Prayer services were held at Christ Congregational Church, Church on the Rock, Union Evangelical Church, Love Alliance, Trinity Baptist Church and Community Church of restoration, which was joined by Brockton Covenant Church.
“We heard from our people who were outraged and we shared our own outrage,” said Daphnis, joined Thursday morning. “It meant that we had to do something. A few weeks ago a vigil was organized by the clergy at the town hall. Yesterday was a continuation of that, inviting our faithful to come together and pray. . I thought it would be powerful to have people in their respective communities across the city, collectively praying for justice and peace. “
The city-wide event was hosted by the Brockton Interfaith Community Clergy Caucus, the non-profit alliance of Brockton religious communities, which is multi-faith, multi-ethnic and has a long history of charitable initiatives. , political actions and calls for social justice on behalf of low-income people. communities and people of color.
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Will Dickerson, executive director of Brockton Interfaith Community, said the organization’s clergy caucus supported the creation of a community watchdog to rewrite the police department’s use of force policy.
Dickerson said he stopped at two of the churches that participated on Wednesday. At Christ Congregational Church, it was a predominantly white congregation that came together to pray for racial justice in this country, with about 50 people attending, said Dickerson, who is black.
Dickerson said he grew up in “a white church,” and during that time he felt his fellow congregants “didn’t see me fully” in terms of racial identity. But on Wednesday night, Dickerson said it was special to see whites express their solidarity and understanding with people of color over police abuse and systemic racism.
“Seeing white people coming from church and standing by my side – and holding signs that reflected my beliefs, values, and feelings at that time – made me cry,” Dickerson said. “Well, white people in my faith community who see me fully. It meant something very deep to me, that people would come out in the number that they would come out.”
Dickerson said he felt at home at Restoration Community Church, which has a predominantly black congregation.
“There is a way that I used to pray and sing and be among the people there,” Dickerson said.
Across town, about 250 to 300 people attended the coordinated prayer event, Dickerson said.
“The prayers were directed against the lamentation, the sadness of what is happening in our country, the racism and the hurt and pain caused by racism as so many black people are dying at the hands of the police,” Dickerson said. “Second, the prayers were directed towards repentance. This process is to feel sorry for the things we have not done to eradicate the stench of racism. Third, once we lament and repent, we must act in the world to make the changes we see possible. “
Dickerson thanked all of the clergy and religious leaders for participating in the prayer event.
“I think the community needs to see religious leaders come into the fray with them, be on the ground with them, recognize that we also feel the pain and pain around us and really stand by the side of the people,” did he declare.
Editor-in-chief Marc Larocque can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Enterprise_Marc.