Rev. Dr. Autura Eason-Williams

By Wanda Clay

On Sunday, July 30, members and friends will gather in two locations to remember the loss of one of the beloved community members of the United Methodist Church, Rev. Dr. Autura Eason-Williams.  At 4:00 p.m. lament worship services will be held in Nashville at Clark Memorial United Methodist Church, 1014 14th Ave. N., Rev. Toi King, Senior Pastor and in Memphis, TN at Centenary United Methodist Church, Rev. Keith Caldwell, Senior Pastor. This day of lament is established by the Black Methodist for Church Renewal (BMCR) of the Tennessee/Western Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church following the tragic sudden death of Rev. Eason-Williams. 

On July 18, 2022, Rev. Eason-Williams was killed by gun violence as three teenagers attempted to steal her car from the driveway of her home in Memphis, TN.  The Reverend was an African-American United Methodist minister and the creator of Signposts: Anti-Racism and Beloved Community.  Ironically, she was also an advocate for Black youth.  This day of lament will honor her and provide opportunity for lamentation, discussion regarding gun violence awareness, reduction, and repair in communities.

“How do we reduce gun violence in our communities?” The question to be tackled as a part of the action during the lamentation.  “This is necessary because of the violence that occurs every day with car jackings, the availability of guns and people getting back at each other,” states coordinator Rev. Marilyn Thornton.  As the pastor of Dixon Memorial and Blakemore United Methodists Churches, Thornton said, “The churches are coming together as this violence is affecting the people of our communities with long-lasting trauma.  This is not a one-time effort because we are losing children, young adults, professionals…This lament and action is to benefit the community as a first annual project to bring attention to the fact that there is too much violence by guns.   

In Nashville the impact testimony and informative interaction will consist of the following:

• Rev. Tara and Mr. Chan Williams of New Covenant Christian Church (DoC)

• Rev. Davie Tucker, Director of Nashville/Metro Human Relations Commission, President of Interdenominational Ministerial Fellowship (IMF), Pastor at Beech Creek Missionary Baptist Church

• Rev. Neelley Hicks, Associate at Glencliff UMC, Trainer for Triumph Over Trauma

• Organizing for art project at Dixon Memorial UMC, 1111 Buchanan Street

• Music, Video, Artwork, and More!

In Memphis the impact testimony and informative interaction will consist of the following

• Mr. Ian Randolph, Political Affairs Chair of the Memphis NAACP

• Rev. Roz Nichols, President of Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope (MICAH)

• Mr. Terrance Ryans, Director of Mission and Shelter, St. Matthews UMC, Trainer for Triumph Over Trauma

• Organizing for art project at Centenary UMC

Whether worshipping in Nashville or in Memphis, the public is invited.  As this event is ultimately about the issue of gun violence that affects us all, everyone is encouraged to attend, regardless of being a member of these churches or United Methodist.  “Autura was a strong voice and active member of the church and the community,” stated a member of BMCR as she recalls the Reverend’s support and presence at every session held.  It is indeed a tragedy that she wanted life to be better for young black teens and their violence on that day, took her life.  However, she deserves for her efforts to continue in the name of Jesus, which results in this day of lament and action.”

Glenese Scales is President of BMCR Tennessee/Western Kentucky Annual Conference of the UMC.  The AEWDLA was conceived by the Late Rev. Roger Hopson and the Rev. Marilyn E. Thornton.  

For any additional information, questions and concerns, contact: Rev. Thornton: Rev. Tondala Hayward: