East Village church has ‘hands up’ in solidarity with Ferguson protesters
Congregants at Middle Collegiate Church raised their hands up during Sunday’s worship service, calling for justice after Michael Brown’s shooting. The position is actually an ancient gesture of prayer and supplication.
We are calling for people of faith to peaceably protest until the officer in question is suspended ~ Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis
Darren Wilson Is Cleared of Rights Violations in Ferguson Shooting – MARCH 4, 2015
Offering the most definitive account yet of the shooting of an unarmed black teenager that stirred racially charged protests across the country, the Justice Department has cleared a Ferguson, Mo., police officer of civil rights violations in the death last August of Michael Brown.
In an 86-page report released Wednesday that detailed and evaluated the testimony of more than 40 witnesses, the Justice Department largely corroborated or found little credible evidence to contradict the account of the officer, Darren Wilson, who is white.
“An East Village church has its hands up in solidarity with Michael Brown, the unarmed teen who was shot to death by a Ferguson, Mo., cop.
Members of Middle Collegiate Church assembled at the church’s altar Sunday morning, lifting their hands in the same gesture of surrender that witnesses say Brown assumed before he was hit by six bullets March 9.
“We surrender but we do not give up,” prayed Rev. Adriene Thorne during the church’s demonstration of “faithful disobedience.”
Thorne also prayed for the safety of the young black men who are members of congregation.
“We pray … that we will not read in the paper one more week of one more brown child being shot,” Thorne said.
Centuries before the gesture became a symbol of racial tensions in Ferguson, the orans position was actually an ancient gesture of prayer. It is still used in the liturgies of some Catholic or Orthodox churches. Charismatic churches also use the gesture as a sign of supplication towards God.
Senior Minister Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis says she believes faith communities have an important role to play in racial reconciliation.
“At the core of almost every major religion is the sense of peace-making,” Lewis told The News. “It is an important part of our faith practice.”
Lewis hopes that demonstrations like this will lead to more investigation and clarity about what exactly caused Brown’s shooting.
“We are calling for people of faith to peaceably protest until the officer in question is suspended, a thorough investigation is conducted, and Michael Brown’s death is explained,” Lewis said.
In the past, Middle Collegiate Church has posed in hoodies to protest Trayvon Martin’s shooting. They have also turned guns into garden tools to speak out against gun violence.”
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