Update on upcoming march near HPUMC
Dear Church Members and Friends,
You may have read or seen news reports regarding a protest march that took place on the SMU campus this past Friday. Hundreds of students were led by the Black Association of SMU Athletes in a march from the north end of the campus to the south and back.
President Gerald Turner participated and encouraged students to let their voices be heard. By all accounts the march was peaceful and a powerful witness for racial equality that took place right next door to us on the SMU campus.
Since then, we have heard that student organizers within SMU have planned an additional march for this Saturday…a march that may involve outside groups. While the starting point for the protest has since changed, the initial posting on social media indicated that it would begin in the “Highland Park Methodist Church parking lot,” meaning the parking lot just north of our facilities. This parking lot is owned by SMU but — through a longstanding agreement — is also used regularly as our church parking lot.
Why are we telling you about this? Because some have assumed — because of the proximity to our facilities — that our church is involved in sponsoring these events. In fact, we are not. We are, however, working closely with SMU to ensure that church events taking place this Saturday will not be affected (inclusive of parking). While all individuals are free to participate or not participate in any events as they choose, please know that our church ministers and staff are committed to NOT representing our church in politically partisan matters. There have been times when — after ratification by our lay leadership — our church has aligned itself with other non-profit organizations, such as Habit for Humanity or CitySquare, in specific projects. We do this on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the mission of each organization aligns with our own Christian commission to love God and neighbor. As stated in numerous sermons and seminars, we will continue in the Wesleyan tradition of advocating for improved and empowered lives for persons in need down the street and around the globe. Our primary partner in the area of racial justice is Project Unity, an organization birthed right here in Dallas. You can learn more about this organization and how HPUMC is addressing matters of race in our country here.
At a time when longtime friendships and extended families are estranged owing to the political polarization of the day, let’s embrace our diversity at HPUMC (yes even our political diversity) by focusing on that which truly unites us: proclamation of the God revealed in Jesus Christ and mission and ministry in his name.
Rev. Paul Rasmussen