Statement Regarding the Black Lives Matter Banner Burning

On Saturday, December 12, 2020, a group of marauders in downtown Washington, D.C. encroached upon the lawn at Asbury United Methodist Church, removed a Black Lives Matter banner from its signpost, and later set it on fire, dousing it with flammable liquid. This incident was captured on social media. It saddened and disturbed the members and friends of Asbury around the globe. As our Senior Pastor observed, the whole spectacle was evocative in its symbolism of a ‘cross burning.’ Read the our Pastor’s Statement here.

It was an unprovoked act of violence and vandalism. It is no less reprehensible because the burned object was a banner rather than a cross. It was an assault on Asbury and its values as a member of the Christian community, a repudiation of the important message the banner sought to convey, and an affront to people of faith and goodwill in our community and the world over. Yet, we are undaunted by the incident of the burning banner. It galvanized people of conscience, awakened faith communities, and brought forth many allies who join us in the cause of justice and redemption. We are grateful for this outpouring of support.

In the days since the incident, many have called our church, messaged us on social media, and written to us asking how they may help. Some have offered to pay to restore the BLM banner or contribute to the church. We are grateful for this interest and allyship. Joyfully and deliberately, the members of Asbury United Methodist Church replaced and re-installed the Black Lives Matter banner.

It was consecrated on Friday, December 18, 2020 by Bishop Latrelle Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. As inquiries continue regarding ways to support our ministries at Asbury*, the church encourages those who want to contribute to consider supporting a long-established fund at Asbury called The Nehemiah Fund. The Nehemiah Fund was created to bring comfort and support, and to be a stone to help re-build the lives of many in our community who face the dark and cruel side of our humanity. Gifts from the Fund support those in serious need. If you choose to give, we welcome your gifts to The Nehemiah Fund. Each gift meets a vital need. Each gift heals brokenness. Each gift restores hope.

We thank you for walking with us on our Zion march for Social Justice, Dignity, and Love.

Donate to The Nehemiah Fund

*Asbury United Methodist Church has not initiated, authorized, or sanctioned any fundraising effort of any kind by any individual or group related to this incident of vandalism.

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