UCC leadership expresses relief, resolve after jury returns guilty verdict in George Floyd’s murder

All three counts – guilty.

United Church of Christ leaders offer this statement and prayer after 12 jurors convict former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

We share a collective breath of relief in the moments following the announced guilty verdict on all three counts against the now convicted murderer who recklessly ended the life of George Floyd.

There is no joy in this, instead a deep and profound sense of relief in knowing that a white police officer who killed a Black citizen with neither regard for the law nor his responsibility to uphold it will be held accountable.

This trial and verdict were necessary steps forward in a long journey towards justice, steps we have taken over and over again and which we have way too often failed to complete.

We remember George Floyd is dead and his family still grieves him. May it be the case that his life is now remembered as a turning, the re-birthing of a movement for justice. May he be remembered as one whose death caused white Americans to turn their faces towards the pain and suffering of Black communities that have been the object of white derision and scorn, a pain and suffering from which whites have too often and too easily hid their faces.

We continue to lift in prayer the family and friends of George Floyd who deserve this moment of justice and an assurance that his life was meaningful and worthy to all of us.

We pray for every Black mother and father who still have to sit with their children and warn them of the dangers of being pulled over by an officer of the law.

We call the church to engage in the hard and necessary work of reforming a police force still marred with the vestiges of white power, white privilege, and white supremacy and whose membership ranks reveal a growing number of actual white supremacists among them. Theirs is a noble profession, but we must all do the work of ensuring that those who wear the uniform do so without bias and prejudice, free from the evils of a racial bias that has ruined or taken the lives of too many Black and brown people.

There are others to be held accountable for their actions. We cannot, we will not rest until justice is an expectation; and until the system that recruits, trains, and deploys our law enforcement officers does so free from racial bias and hatred.

Let us all breathe deeply. There is a grief to feel, a pain and suffering to acknowledge, and a life to commemorate.

Let us continue to engage in the struggle for justice and peace.

Let us commit to our individual and collective acts of love for all.

And let us rejoice in the power of a God who offers resurrection hope in the midst of all of our struggles with death, with evil, and with injustice.


— The National Officers of the United Church of Christ:

  • The Rev. John C. Dorhauer — General Minister and President
  • The Rev. Traci A. Blackmon — Associate General Minister
  • The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson — Associate General Minister
UCC officers record these sentiments shortly after the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

Justice prevails in the death of George Floyd

UCC Minister of Racial Justice Velda Love marks this monumental day with this message:

We can attest that, today in the United States of America, justice prevailed for George Floyd and his family. People of African descent across the nation and the world will be chanting Black Lives Matter. At 4:10 p.m. CDT, the jurors in Hennepin County, Minn., returned to the courtroom and found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts of murder and manslaughter.

There is a collective sigh of relief for people on every continent and in every country who witnessed the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.  For residents in Minneapolis, justice has prevailed for the Floyd family.

In 2020, hundreds of thousands of people left their homes during a global pandemic, marched peacefully and in solidarity for Floyd and his family.

African Americans have experienced systemic injustices, threats, harm, and violence perpetrated upon their souls, bodies, and spirits for over 500 years. In this post-Easter moment, justice has prevailed and the legacy and memory of George Floyd will be among those great cloud of witnesses and ancestors of African descent.

On behalf of the United Church of Christ, as Minister of Racial Justice, I can say we continue to stand in solidarity with George Floyd’s family. We stand in solidarity for justice for people of African descent in this nation and across the world. We stand in solidarity and in prayer with those who continue to work for racial justice.

In the words of Ella Baker, “We who believe in freedom will not rest until it comes.”

Today, April 20, 2021, we give thanks for everyone who stood up, spoke up, protested, and practiced their faith as public witnesses and demanded justice. May we continue to repair the breach and work towards justice for all.

The Rev. Velda Love, Minister of Racial Justice

A prayer: ‘Breathe on us, breath of God’

The UCC officers offer this prayer:

Holy God, you are as close as the breath we breathe. We are a people in mourning tonight, grieving the loss of the life of George Floyd. We remember George Floyd in this moment as one of your own, created in your image, fashioned in your likeness. His was a life filled with breath, breath that was taken from his body prematurely.  We pray for his family, may they be visited with peace and comfort in their grief and loss. 

Breathe on us, breath of God. 

We grieve the brutality of George Floyd’s death. We grieve the dehumanization of his existence and the disregard for his right to live with dignity. We grieve the systems present in our society that oppress because of perceived differences and mourn the lack of justice that has been visited upon us so many times before. 

Breathe on us, breath of God. 

We are thankful for justice served tonight. We take no joy in this moment, instead we breathe a collective sigh of relief that George Floyd was seen and heard. We give thanks that his cry from the streets was heard by a jury and justice visited with us today. We want to keep breathing.  

Breathe on us, breath of God. 

We pray for continued justice. We pray justice and peace be present for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or religion. We pray that the lives of those who are underrepresented will be valued by all and we pray that there will be healing in the land today. 

Breathe on us, breath of God. 

Breathe on us Holy one. Our breath is a gift from you, connecting us to you. Fill us with the breath of the Spirit as we continue on in the fight for justice. Fill us with your hope and love, so that we may continue to cry out for justice on behalf of all people. 

Breathe on us, breath of God. 

Categories: United Church of Christ News

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