Anti-Racism Resources from United Methodist General Agencies
By Bryan Tener
Our United Methodist general agencies have resources that can support and assist local congregational leaders and their churches in learning about issues of race, in working for justice, and in offering paths towards unity amid diversity. Available resources include those that highlight facts and statistics and help offer a picture of the disparities between races, book studies, online courses, and video series that help highlight individual growth areas and blind spots as well as shine a light on larger societal systemic issues. Some offer concrete action steps to work toward justice; there are opportunities within these resources to help equip and support you and your congregation as you pursue the mission of making disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world.
General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR)
- "'Moving Toward The Pain’: Erin Hawkins Responds to the Death of George Floyd" - The General Secretary of the United Methodist General Commission of Religion and Race offers a helpful reflection for the church (in particular, the UMC) and the opportunity to confront systemic and institutional racism.
- Rev. Angela Brown, JD (minister of community engagement, advocacy, and justice of the California-Nevada Conference) and Rev. Andy Oliver (senior pastor of Allendale UMC) discuss specific actions faith leaders can take to dismantle systems and expressions of racism.
- "Implicit Bias: What We Don’t Think We Think" - GCORR’s online course on implicit bias for anyone interested in teaching or taking this on-demand course with additional content for pastors
- "Racial Justice Conversations Guide" - For those seeking ways to have difficult and important conversations with others around white privilege and racial inequality, this resource provides a helpful starting point.
- Raise Up Your Voice Against Racism Webinar - Asian American Language Ministry Plan, the New Federation of Asian American United Methodists, and the General Board of Church and Society Present: Raise Up Your Voice Against Racism.
General Board of Church and Society (GBCS)
These links point to the UMC Social Principles, which offer theological reflection and biblical understanding, a summary of the issues at work today, and what that means for the church today:
- Racism and Economic Injustice
- Opposition to Racial Profiling in the U.S.
- White Privilege in the United States
- Stop Criminalizing Communities of Color in the United States
- Humanizing Criminal Justice
- A Charter for Racial Justice in an Interdependent Global Community
The following links are helpful resources that serve to educate and offer next steps to further explore issues of race and human rights
Other helpful resources related to the United Methodist Church
- The UMC Social Creed
- User Guide for the Book of Resolutions - A helpful guide for questions about the UMC Book of Resolutions; it also includes a link to purchase various United Methodist resources.
- Journey from Darkness to Light - New Racial Justice Advent Resource from GCORR to equip, support, and encourage the local church to partner with God and work for justice, equality, and right relationships. This resource includes sermon starters, hymn and song suggestions, children’s messages, and age appropriate activities to help strengthen the movement to become anti-racists as you journey through the advent season towards a meaningful Christmas.
The church, its leaders, and all disciples of Jesus have a responsibility to grow in love for God and neighbor. Part of that journey is to confront the evils of racism, the history and the role that the church has played, and to equip and challenge one another to the work of anti-racism so that we, as disciples, and all God’s creation can fully live as God created us to live and experience the fullness of life. As you use these resources, work for justice and equality, and stand with our sisters and brothers who are shouting to live, I invite you to share with us at Path 1 and Discipleship Ministries stories of how you’re using them, or what other resources have been useful for you, and ways that your congregation is taking steps to become anti-racist and work for justice as expressions of discipleship.