The newly formed TWK Church & Society team’s purpose is, in alignment with the UMC’s Social Principles (paragraph 629.4), “[to] confront the Church consistent with the Social Principles and the policies adopted by the General Conference.” As a team, they will be raising awareness about various issues throughout the year in accordance with relevant information from the UMC’s Social Principles.

In that light, the team is calling on those within (and without) the TWK conference of the UMC to take action regarding Tennessee’s current policy on capital punishment. Tennessee currently has five executions scheduled in 2022; the most of any state. The first is Oscar Smith, who is scheduled to die on April 21st. They urge folks to write Governor Bill Lee (1st Floor, State Capitol, Nashville, TN 37243) to ask for mercy for Mr. Smith and the others scheduled for execution.

The team’s call to action is in direct alignment with the UMC’s Social Principles regarding the death penalty:

“We oppose the death penalty (capital punishment) and urge its elimination from all criminal codes… The death penalty denies the power of Christ to redeem, restore, and transform all human beings.” (Social Principles ¶164.G)

The TWK Church & Society affirms that, as Wesleyans, United Methodists believe that God’s grace is ever reaching out to restore our relationship with God and with each other. The death penalty denies the possibility of new life and reconciliation.

The United Methodist Church also recognizes the unjust and flawed implementation of the death penalty, with racial bias in capital cases, the execution of persons with intellectual disabilities, along with the likely execution of innocent people. (Book of Resolutions, 5037). Since 1973, 185 people have been exonerated from death row in the United States due to evidence of their innocence. Three of those were from Tennessee. Please heed the call and contact Gov. Bill Lee, that these lives might be spared.