Meeting with Miami Township leaders led to change from original plan to block traffic at major intersection in Miami Township

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (June 17, 2020) — Organizers from Epiphany United Methodist Church (EUMC) in Loveland originally announced plans for a “Peaceful Witness” event to kneel and block traffic in Miami Township in the intersection of Branch Hill Guinea Pike & Loveland-Miamiville Road.

Epiphany United Methodist Church plans protest at this Miami Township intersection of Branch Hill-Guinea Pike & Loveland-Miamiville Road (Chuck Gibson) 

Initial reports of the plan indicated they had support of Miami Township Police. On Monday Miami Township leaders, including Township Administrator Jeff Wright and Miami Township Police Chief Mike Mills, met with four organizers of the planned witness event from EUMC.  In that meeting, Township officials discussed details of the event and made clear what would be allowed.

 “The police chief and I did meet with four organizers of Friday’s planned protest,” said Wright. “We let them know we will enable all protesters’ safety, but we cannot enable anyone to disobey the law. We encouraged them to not stop traffic or block the roadway.”

Jeff Wright, Miami Township Administrator (Provided) 

Miami Township Police Chief, Mike Mills (Provided)

The group representing EUMC at the meeting indicated to Wright they would discuss that information and planning with other members organizing the event for Friday. They left it with a promise to follow-up with Miami Township officials once they finalized plans for Friday evening. 

“We’ve encouraged them to obey all the laws and still be able to enjoy their first amendment right to congregate and have a peaceful protest,” Wright said. “We’re encouraging it to be in compliance with all rules of the roadway.”

Sign out front of Epiphany United Methodist Church shows stance against racism (Chuck Gibson) 

At the time of this report, leadership for Epiphany United Methodist Church in Loveland declined requests for interview or further comment regarding plans for the Friday evening planned protest. A EUMC official unauthorized to speak on the record instead directed us to a message posted on their Facebook page late Tuesday evening.  The message reveals a change from their original plan to kneel in the roadway and block traffic in Miami Township Friday evening.

EUMC Facebook page graphic

Here is the message posted on the EUMC Facebook page Tuesday night:

Epiphany Friends – Plans for Friday’s Peaceful Witness event to block traffic in the intersection of Branch Hill Guinea Pike & Loveland-Miamiville Rd have been revised. Miami Township Police Dept. officials, who have been working to support our church’s efforts, are aware of the changes.

Instead, Epiphany members and other participants will assemble peacefully on public property south of the intersection, then kneel in prayerful witness for 8:46 minutes, respectfully marking the tragic death of George Floyd and the many victims before and after him who have lost their lives to injustice.

Rev. Todd Anderson, District Superintendent for the Ohio River Valley UMC, will be joining the Loveland event.

Join Us:

When – Gather in EUMC parking lot, 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 19 then reconvene on southwest corner of Branch Hill Guinea Pike & Loveland-Miamiville Rd at 5:50 p.m.

What – At 6 p.m. participants will kneel (those who are able) for 8:46 minutes, to be followed by chanting/singing

Attire – Wear red and/or black shirt

Health and Safety – Participants are asked to wear facial masks and practice social distancing

Participants in the EUMC ‘Peaceful Witness’ demonstration will likely gather on this spot at the intersection of Branch-Hill Guinea Pike & Loveland-Miamiville Roads (Chuck Gibson)

Here is the EUMC Facebook event invitation:

“Do justice… love kindness… walk humbly with God.” Micah 6:8

What: Epiphany’s “Peaceful Witness” event

When: Friday, June 19

Where: Meet at 5:30 p.m. in EUMC parking lot; reconvene at the southwest corner of Branch Hill-Guinea & Loveland-Miamiville Roads for 6 p.m. event.

Why: On Friday, June 19, Epiphany members and others will kneel on public property, offering peaceful protest and witness for 8:46 minutes to respectfully mark the tragic death of George Floyd and the many victims before and after him who have lost their lives to injustice.

The Miami Township Police Department and surrounding businesses are invited to attend and/or participate as a show of support.

(Editor’s note: According to Facebook invitation, participation is limited to about 95 persons)

Click here to visit Miami Township online

 Click here to visit EUMC – Loveland online