Racial Justice

           

The United Methodist Church proclaims the value of each person as a unique child of God and commits itself to the healing and wholeness of all persons. The United Methodist Church recognizes that the sin of racism has been destructive to its unity throughout its history. Racism continues to cause painful division and marginalization. The United Methodist Church shall confront and seek to eliminate racism, whether in organizations or in individuals, in every facet of its life and in society at large. The United Methodist Church shall work collaboratively with others to address concerns that threaten the cause of racial justice at all times and in all places.

— The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2016, paragraph 5
 

An Invitation to Action from Bishop Saenz

Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. provides this reflection on anti-racism efforts both locally and globally. And he shares opportunities for participation and worship in an effort to draw people together to dismantle racism.
 

What Can You Do?

Time to Listen

Six Black pastors from throughout the conference talk about their own experiences with racism and their responses to national news, including unarmed Black men being killed by police, during a June 27 webinar titled “Time to Listen – Voices of African American Clergy serving in the Great Plains Conference.” The webinar was organized by the Rev. Dee Williamston, Salina-Hutchinson Districts superintendent, and the Rev. Nicole Conard of the conference Congregational Excellence team. The Rev. Dr. Rose Booker-Jones, a retired district superintendent from the Illinois Great Rivers Conference who now lives near Wichita, was the facilitator. Watch the video.

Responding to Racism

Following the previous episode titled "Black Lives Matter," we explore how people can respond to help end racism. In this episode, we talk openly about what white people can do to help, and we explore what it means when we say "white privilege," how to educate ourselves and other ways to help bring about change — from stopping racist chatter at the water cooler to speaking up to casting ballots. Featured guests are the Rev. Junius Dotson and the Rev. Steve Spencer. Download the podcast.

Black Lives Matter

Hear what some of the African-American pastors in the Great Plains Conference have to say following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Their reflections are captured in an episode of the "In Layman's Terms" podcast, hosted by Todd Seifert, conference communications director. Download the podcast.

 

Start by recognizing that racism as a sin.

Commit to challenging unjust systems of power and access.

Work for equal and equitable opportunities in employment and promotion, education and training; in voting, access to public accommodations, and housing; to credit, loans, venture capital, and insurance; to positions of leadership and power in all elements of our life together; and to full participation in the Church and society.

What else can you do?

 

Pray

Listen for the voice of Jesus in our private acts of devotion and our public acts of worship. 

Connect

We begin our work by joining hands and hearts to journey side by side. 

Show up

Seek to be present at rallies, be present during the pain of others, and look for opportunities to use your voices for change.
 

Act

Jesus calls us not only to speak, but to join in the work of liberating the oppressed.

 

United Methodists across the United States are putting action behind the promise “United Methodists Stand Against Racism.” Check the calendar on this linked page often for events and learning opportunities in which you may want to participate. Send items to be considered for inclusion to ResourceUMC@umcom.org. In most instances, opportunities listed will be those provided or promoted by episcopal areas, annual conferences, general agencies, officially recognized caucuses or colleges and universities related to The United Methodist Church.

 

Systemic, Structural and Institutional Racism

The following articles from a group called The Responsible Consumer is recommended reading for understanding the racism.

 

Having Difficult Conversations

There is a multitude of articles about having difficult conversations. Here are a few.

 

Messages from Some of Our United Methodist Leaders

Since protests against police brutality and violence triggered by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, United Methodist bishops and other denominational have been speaking out. Here is a sampling of the statements. 

Read a statement from Great Plains Conference Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.

 

Our Social Principles

The United Methodist Church recognizes racism as sin and affirms the ultimate and temporal worth of all persons. We rejoice in the gifts that particular ethnic histories and cultures bring to our total life. We commit as the Church to move beyond symbolic expressions and representative models that do not challenge unjust systems of power and access. Read the Social Principle related to Racial and Ethnic Persons.

 

Civil Disobedience Policy

The Great Plains Conference recognizes that the denomination has a long history of using civil disobedience to call attention to injustice and to bring about change. The conference has a policy regarding civil disobedience, particularly involving its pastors.

Read and/or download the policy.

 

To Learn More