The morning of July 8th, 2016, the morning after the deaths of 5 Dallas Police officers, and two mornings after the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, The Well's Jasen Frelot decided it was time to act. Calling together clergy from all over King County, Jasen organized 30+ churches to cover five of the Seattle Police Department Precincts - North, South, West, East, and the Downtown Headquarters. Calling it #flowers4cops, Jasen was determined to deescalate the narrative of war between the black community (#blacklivesmatter) and police officers across the nation. As the different faith and congregation leaders visited the precincts, they shared photos and reflections on Twitter & Facebook with the hashtag #flowers4cops:
The following faith communities delivered #flowers4cops to precincts throughout our region.
Each gift of flowers included this note:
"Our prayers for safety and peace on this painful day. With gratitude, love, and hope for a more just and peaceful future."
Queen Anne United Methodist Church/The Well
St. Luke's Lutheran Church
The Church Council of Greater Seattle
The Catacomb Churches
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (Lynnwood)
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (Shoreline)
University Presbyterian Church
Maple Leaf Lutheran Church
Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, Seattle
Northminster Presbyterian Churche
First Church (First United Methodist Church, Seattle)
St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Seattle
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Mercer Island
Edmonds Lutheran Church
Immanuel Lutheran Church
Interfaith Community Sanctuary & School
Queen Anne Presbyterian Church
Seattle Mennonite Church
UW Lutheran Campus Ministry
Columbia City Church of Hope
Shoreline United Methodist Church
First African Methodist Episcopal Church-Seattle, WA
Wedgwood Presbyterian Church
Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church
Broadview Community United Church of Christ
Good Shepherd Baptist Church
Immanuel Community Services
Northlake Lutheran Church, Kenmore, WA
Grace Lutheran Church - Bellevue
A few words from Jasen and Katie on behalf of the Well were sent to King 5 and the other news organizations covering the story:
Too many lives are lost. Too much blood has been spilled.
The Well is committed to addressing the deep divisions created in our community because of white supremacy and racism. As an insidious disease it infects all of our culture and is found throughout our institutions - our families, our schools, our religious institutions, our police forces, our businesses. It fills us with fear and makes us treat one another with suspicion. Black lives are routinely taken because of white supremacy and racism. Black lives are shattered. We want our communities to thrive, and that requires the cessation of bloodshed. We have to address this head on if we want to have any hope at all in addressing the divisiveness in our communities - if we want to find our way to the beloved community.
The statement above, while written by Katie, is shared by Jasen. It is how we understand our theological task.
Signed, Katie Ladd and Jasen Frelot
Watch Jasen's video on Facebook to hear his words on why he felt called to action Friday morning. The video followed a few words also posted on Facebook (somewhat paraphrasing the previous statement written by Katie) as some following the progression of the event called for clarification of the purpose and intent of the action:
Here is a bit of my philosophical and spiritual reasoning for my action today.
I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not condone or endorse the actions of police in the country to a large extent, but As a Christian I am called to Love my enemy and bless those who curse me. This was our attempt at doing that. Showing Kindness and Love should never be mistaken for condoning evil.
I and The Well are committed to addressing the deep divisions created in our community because of white supremacy and racism. As an insidious disease it infects all of our culture and is found throughout our institutions - our families, our schools, our religious institutions, our police forces, our businesses. It fills us with fear and makes us treat one another with suspicion. Black lives are lost routinely because of white supremacy and racism. We have to address this head on if we want to have any hope at all in addressing the divisiveness in our communities - if we want to find our way to the beloved community.
To follow along with all of the action of the day, check out the #flowers4cops Twitter and Facebook feeds.