Racism is a Demonic Possession

billFrom yesterday’s Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice press conference (Detroit, MI) in response to the white Christian “protest” at the Capitol in Lansing.

My name is Bill Wylie-Kellermann. I’m a United Methodist pastor in Detroit, recently retired from St Peter’s Episcopal Church, and a member of Michigan Poor Peoples Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

I speak as a white male Christian outraged at the public display of white supremacy in these demonstrations against the health requirements of Michigan under COVID 19. Continue reading

TRACKED BUT NOT SEEN: THE FIGHT AGAINST RACIST SURVEILLANCE

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Photo credit: Craine’sDetroit

In Detroit, the constant flash of green lights says: You are being watched.

BY BILL WYLIE-KELLERMANN

Reposted from Sojourners, MARCH 2020

WE GATHERED THIS fall on the steps of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Summoned by the Detroit chapter of Black Youth Project 100, we were preparing to march a mile-long stretch of gentrified Michigan Avenue, which intersects there. I had served the church for 11 years as pastor, and in the last dozen or so this Catholic Worker neighborhood had been invaded by $400,000 condos, plus destination bars and restaurants. Among others, guests at our Manna Meal soup kitchen and Kelly’s Mission, largely black, are stigmatized and made unwelcome. Continue reading

Sermon- By this Authority.

14045939_10208859512578630_2180424516011809531_nBy Bill Wylie-Kellermann, January 25, 2020
This was the closing sermon to the United Methodist Global Water Summit at Cass United Methodist Church in Detroit. His opening sermon was posted on February 12.

Romans 6:1-18

In the summer of 2013 as the Water shut-offs spiked under Emergency Management, St Peter’s Episcopal became the first water distribution station of We the People of Detroit. The first contribution was a truckload borne across the Ambassador Bridge by the Council of Canadians. It didn’t have all the necessary paperwork, so the Border Feds had to decide whether to halt it and cause an international press incident or just allow I through irregularly. The latter wisdom prevailed. We received it at St Peter’s with a small ceremony, carried  it in brigade-style and stored it along the outside isles of the sanctuary. But mostly we grouped the bulk of it around the baptismal font which is the first thing you see as you enter. At one point we had 1500 gallons of water there. We hung a banner behind the font which said St. Peter’s Water Station, making the very same connection as this summit. Continue reading

Sermon “By Water and the Spirit: A Global Water Summit”

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Bill Wylie-Kellermann at his granddaughter’s baptism. Photo credit: Tony Eggert

By Bill Wylie-Kellermann, January 24, 2020

Isaiah 55:1-3

In the name of the One who breathed across the face of the waters in creation; the One who is Lord and Servant of all; and the Spirit militant that summons, fills, and holds us together as one, let all of this be.

I am a former pastor of this congregation, so I’ve preached many times from this pulpit; I was married in this sanctuary, my daughter was baptized here, and still I confess to feeling the burden of bringing a Word to this important summit. I’ve been asked to “lay a theological foundation” for these conversations. In that, I’m mindful that the charism we need in this moment is less one of speaking than of listening – especially to our guests from the African continent. Continue reading

A Word to White Men

BWKBy Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann, presented at the inaugural Council on the Way convened by Ruby Sales in Washington D.C. on October 19, 2019

You, White men, Christian and not, sit in darkness, unseeing how you are advantaged by aggression against others. Your humanity suffers a gaping wound you have been taught not to feel. You are justified by a faith that is an idol and a lie. You are in bondage to a system and a spirit, white supremacy, which is nothing less than a form of death itself. Continue reading

The Resurrection is Against the Law

BillAn excerpt from Bill Wylie-Kellermann’s classic Seasons of Faith and Conscience (1991).

The sealing of the tomb is, I believe, notoriously misunderstood. I grew up with a Sunday School notion that to seal the tomb was a matter of hefting the big stone and cementing it tight. The seal, in my mind’s eye, was something like first-century caulking–puttying up the cracks to keep the stink in. Not so. This is a legal seal. Cords would be strung across the rock and anchored at each end with clay. To move the stone would break the seal and indicate tampering. Continue reading