Services went a little differently in hundreds of Black churches around the country this Sunday. Congregations all across the United States staged an in-house protest by wearing all Black to services and praying over all of the men in the congregation in solidarity with the thousands in the streets protesting the deaths of unarmed Black men
Bishop T.D. Jakes told worshippers at The Potter’s House Church in Dallas that Black men should not be “tried on the sidewalk,” according to published reports.
At Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, Maryland, choir members sang “We Shall Overcome” for worshippers, wearing T-shirts that read “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe,” reported AP.
“Police forces are charged with protecting all our citizens,” said Bishop Charles E. Blake, leader of the national Church of God in Christ, the largest Black Pentecostal organization in the country. “In a very special way, they are to abide by the laws they are called to enforce. They should not bring fear to our citizens, but rather confidence.”
Prominent Black church leaders came together to organize this demonstration.
“It is a time to hear God calling us to be relevant and responsive to the needs of people with us and around us,” wrote Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, an organizer of Sunday’s church action, according to AP.
Rev. Lee P. Washington, pastor at Reid Temple AME Church in Glenn Dale, Maryland, called the congregation’s black dress “serious dress for serious times.” He went on to say that the people who pose that Eric Garner and Michael Brown among other unarmed Black men who were killed by officers “deserve what they got” for disobeying police, or consider the deaths just an “unfortunate tragedy,” should stop and think of the families that lost their children.
“In our minds, Black lives do matter,” Washington said, according to an AP report.
This Sunday protest gave people who might not be able to get out in the street a chance to stand in solidarity. Grandmothers and small children alike were able to dress in Black and pray for change during services.
“We have to just come together and do our part,” said Darrell Ward at services at First AME Church Bethel, a New York congregation that participated in “Black Lives Matter” Sunday.