Some of you may have recently received (or seen) the following invitation from our District Superintendent.  “I invite you to join Bishop Lewis, several DS’s and many United Methodists and other people of faith for a peaceful march for justice.  This march is being organized through Woodlawn-Faith UMC’s ‘Beyond the Walls’ [BTW] satellite campus of mostly African-American young adults.  It will be held on Tuesday, June 9, at Walt Whitman Middle School … beginning at 4 pm.”  Rev. Mickle went on to explain why we would want to support such a march:

  • It’s an expression of our discipleship as followers of Jesus
  • It may also be a means for internal healing or catharsis for those struggling
  • It might also be a catalyst to engage action … change societal structures
  • It can also be a rallying cry for the church to refocus our efforts and energies as God’s agent for goodness, healing, justice, and reconciliation in the world today

Sure, I’ve been watching the news reports and reading social media articles … peaceful protests, no social distancing, some marchers more disruptive, police lines, questionable signage and hand gestures, can masks really keep you safe, etc, ,,, but as an immigrant, naturalized citizen and retired military, I was both intrigued and called to participate.  So, here were my observations:

  • Getting there on time was a challenge … lots of people and road closures
  • Where to park … I drove around the same area twice & parked in a medical lot
  • So many people … all colors, ages, families, and oh yes, helicopters
  • People were talking to each other … small groups, mixed groups, large groups
  • Everybody had masks, but not everybody had signs … just being there was OK
  • Organized … Yes, Rev. Brown started but quickly turned it over to the BTW young adults who introduced speakers and shared in one message – Change!
  • As the march started, everyone was so polite … social distancing matters
  • Sure, there were chants, but it never got out of hand or mean spirited
  • As we marched along a section of Route 1 … car horns supported us
  • Halfway through, there was a ‘rest stop’ … a few more speeches, and who was passing out water, refreshments and cleaning up trash – the BTW young adults
  • At the end of the march, I could identify with that Jeremy Camp song … “Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment – Help me live with my eyes wide open – Singing oh Lord, show me what matters”
  • Thank you BTW young adults … say, “young adults” … Thank you for ‘keeping all of us in the moment’!!


John Meeuwissen, Lay Leader