Don't Back Down Says Goodwin After Racist Zoombombers Disrupt Training

Don't Back Down Says Goodwin After Racist Zoombombers Disrupt Training

After racist Zoombombers disrupted an anti-racism Conference staff training session on Thursday, Executive Conference Minister The Rev. Darrell Goodwin went live on Facebook with this call: "Don't back down."

"People of God: don't back down. Because this is what I love about God. God always shows up in what seems to be the strongest fury of the storm. So even if they try to Facebook bomb, keep on moving forward. If they try to interrupt your Zoom, keep on moving forward. If they try to surround your church, if they send you the next message, because you posted something about justice, I decree and declare that you are already backed by the power of the living God."

Rev. Goodwin pointed out that Pentecost is coming, and that the Scripture around Pentecost says that after the Spirit has come, you will receive power.

"It is power that we might stand against any and every thing that's not like God. And so we already know exclusion is not like God, we already know that demeaning somebody because of who they were created to be is not like God. We already know pushing someone to the margins because of the skin they're in or who they choose to love, or because they've come into the fullness of who God has created them to be will not stand."

"But when we show the love of God, when we show extravagant welcome, when we draw people in who have continuously been pushed out, my friends, we will see growth like never before. In the Southern New England Conference, we keep inviting people to grow with us. We keep inviting you to consider a spirit of generosity, a spirit of revitalization, a re-understanding of what outreach means. And then we will have wonder, because we will wonder at how God lifted up your ministries. We will wonder at how God moved the needle forward for justice. We will wonder about how we marched and we prayed and we moved until laws were changed. And so people felt loved and seen like never before. So simply my friends don't back down, but stand up even more."  (Watch the Rev. Goodwin's full message here.)

The Rev. James D. Ross II, the Conference's Minister for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, was involved in the training and was forced to temporarily shut down the session when the intruders kept pouring in. But, he said, their attack failed.

"Yes, these attackers entered our meeting and caused disruption, Yes, we ended that time together, But within minutes we were back online with an even more secure link. And as we gathered, we talked about what happened," he said. 

"When we resumed our time together, I think we did so with even more commitment to do this work," he said, "I think we resumed with a willingness to be even more vulnerable with one another. We came back together with that real time reminder that what we are talking about is not theoretical. It is real and it is playing out among us. It cannot be written off as imaginary, and perhaps it makes more real the complaints that people of color express about the ways in which we experience police, employers, lenders, and everyday folk among our paths. Finally, I believe this zoombombing hit those of us gathered in a way that we might not have imagined. We have this shared experience and we take it with us. Now, there is no question that it was a traumatic time. And yet I believe that the residue of that experience will propel us forward in new and meaningful ways."

(Watch the Rev. Ross's full message here.)

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