Within just several minutes of a video footage of a man who was unjustly treated by a police officer, the rest of the country now knows the late George Floyd but few people knew his religious side and his impact on his city’s Christian community.
George who moved from Minnesota to Minneapolis for a job opportunity through a Christian work program was known as a “person of peace.” They knew him for decades and he was a “mentor to a generation of young men ushering ministries into the area.”
Floyd was known for his firm stances against the cycle of violence he saw among young people and used his influence to bring outside ministries to the area to do discipleship and outreach, particularly in the Cuney Homes housing project, locally known as “the Bricks.”
“George Floyd was a person of peace sent from the Lord that helped the gospel go forward in a place that I never lived in,” said Patrick PT Ngwolo, pastor of Resurrection Houston.
“The platform for us to reach that neighborhood and the hundreds of people we reached through that time and up to now was built on the backs of people like Floyd,” he told Christianity Today.
Fellow leader in the community, Corey Paul Davis reflects on some of his conversations with the slained man saying “He said, ‘I love what you’re doing. The neighborhood need it, the community need it, and if y’all about God’s business, then that’s my business,’” said Corey Paul Davis, a Christian hip-hop artist who attended Resurrection Houston. “He said, ‘Whatever y’all need, wherever y’all need to go, tell ’em Floyd said y’all good. I got y’all.’”
“He helped push the baptism tub over, understanding that people were going to make a decision of faith and get baptized right there in the middle of the projects. He thought that was amazing,” said Ronnie Lillard, also a Christian artist performer.
“The things that he would say to young men always referenced that God trumps street culture. I think he wanted to see young men put guns down and have Jesus instead of the streets.”
Nijalon Dunn, who also had encounter with Floyd said “His faith was a heart for the Third Ward that was radically changed by the gospel, and his mission was empowering other believers to be able to come in and push that gospel forth, There are things that Floyd did for us that we’ll never know until the other side of eternity. There were times where we’d have Church at the Bricks until 3 p.m., and by 4:30, they’re firing shots right at the basketball courts.”
Also, Pastor Patrick revealed to Houston Chronicle that George moved to Minnesota for a discipleship program around 2018, including a job placement, according to pastor Ngwolo. “A ‘Bricks boy’ doesn’t just leave the Third Ward and go to Minnesota!” he said. Floyd told Dunn he had plans to return this summer.
On Tuesday night, area pastors gathered to mourn for Big Floyd’s death and did a prayer vigil at Emancipation Park, a historic Third Ward site. Now, the community wanted the world to rightly remember the great man he was.
“A gentle giant, an inspiration to his neighborhood, and a positive force for change,” they said. However, they also say that shouldn’t matter. He was a fellow image-bearer, and that should have been enough to keep him from the aggressive treatment they saw in the viral clip.”
Police were trying to put Floyd in a squad car Monday 25th of May, in Minneapolis, when he stiffened and fell to the ground, saying he was claustrophobic, a criminal complaint said. Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd and Officer Tou Thoa arrived and tried several times to get the struggling Floyd into the car.
Chauvin eventually pulled Floyd out of the car, and the handcuffed Floyd went to the ground face down. Officer J.K. Kueng held Floyd’s back and Officer Thomas Lane held his legs while Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s head and neck area, the complaint said.
When Lane asked if Floyd should be rolled onto his side, Chauvin said, “No, staying put is where we got him.” Lane said he was “worried about excited delirium or whatever.”
Chauvin faces more than 12 years in prison if convicted of murder.
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