Disciples News Service

Resources for congregations: Ferguson grand jury decision

Emotions are raw in the wake of the Ferguson grand jury decision involving the death of Michael Brown. People feel unheard, threatened and confused.

As we seek to be a movement for wholeness in a broken and fragmented world, our call is to open our churches as places of dialogue and action. Our challenge is to open our hearts to a difficult conversation around race and systemic injustice.

Additional links to statements appear below the prayers.

Adapted from the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police

Gracious and loving God, we your children offer prayers this day for men and women who have answered the call to serve and protect. Grant them a measure of wisdom, greater than their own that peace and justice might abound for all. Protect them from harm and comfort their families who wait in silence while their loved ones serve. May all who serve know the joy of the loving embrace and safety until their duty ends. Amen.

From the General Minister and President –

“Lord, listen to your children praying…
We come to you, for you are our Rock.
Our hearts ache for the loss suffered by the family of Michael Brown.
Our souls sink at the anger and hopelessness experienced by so many.
Our minds struggle with the divide that a heritage of racism and violence has placed among us.
Help us, O God, not to give up on each other. Help us, as your children, to reach across fear and fixed attitudes. Help us to listen and seek understanding.
Empower us to make a difference on our shared journey toward your justice and the wholeness of the Beloved Community.
Lord, hear our prayer.”

To assist your congregation in this conversation, resources have been linked below. Listing does not imply endorsement.

Sunday School-style lesson plan offered by Odyssey Network

Reconciliation Ministries statement | resource guide with litanies, sample sermons

National Convocation statement

Thanksgiving and Ferguson by Indiana Regional Minister Rick Spleth

Religions for Peace response

Christianity Today response

National Council of Churches statement

Churches Uniting in Christ statement

Samuel Proctor Dewitt Conference statement

Presbyterian Church USA’s Stated Clerk statement

United Church of Christ’s General Minister and President statement