Anti-Racist Discipleship & Social Justice
By Bener Agtarap
Discipleship Ministries offers resources to equip local churches to make disciples who fully embrace working for justice and reconciliation as an integral part of discipleship. We invite our local church leaders to prayerfully consider these two questions: “How can we as disciples put our faith into action to help dismantle racism and systems of injustice? How can we lead the disciples in our congregations in these important conversations?”
Our relationship with one another and with the whole creation emanates from our relationship with God. We believe that every person is created in the image of God and called to be a beloved child of God. Yet the sin of racism, the failure to live out our baptismal promises of resisting injustice, and not hearing the pain of those who are hurting (Romans 12:15) has led many to feel unloved, to believe that their cries are unheard and that their pain is unseen. We who have decided to follow Jesus must actively participate in God’s transformative work of dismantling racism and other forces of evil and building a more just society.
We hope that the resources we are sharing here will empower local churches and their leaders to work together in fulfilling the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We are asking all people called United Methodists to act – NOW!
12 Resources for Anti-Racist Discipleship:
BISHOP’S PASTORAL LETTER: REPAIRING THE BREACH, RESTORING THE STREETS
By Bishop David Bard
The United States and the whole world have just learned of the guilty verdicts for the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Meanwhile, there was another officer-involved shooting of a black man in Minneapolis and the Twin Cities this week. Bishop David Bard issued the following pastoral letter urging Minnesota United Methodists to continue the long work of racial reckoning.
Police Brutality: Stop Criminalizing Communities of Color in the United States
By Neal Christie
Police brutality continues unabated. So, The United Methodist Church calls on local and national governments to stop the criminalization of communities of color and to end racial/ethnic/religious profiling by law enforcement officers, among others. It also calls the church to develop resources on this issue with United States and international groups, and it calls the church to engage with other churches and local communities in speaking out publicly for police accountability regarding racial profiling, misconduct, abuse, and killings.
Crossing the Line: Coalitions for the Common Good Across Race, Class, and Gender
By Tex Sample
“I write this brief comment with every hope that George Floyd will not have died in vain. The violent and brutal act of his murder and that of so many others must not be forgotten and must by all moral and political force become the location for a societal current of change in police practice and a material commitment that Black lives matter. That human rights are crucial should go without saying, except for the fact that they are so often ignored and in so many systemic and structural ways, perhaps given voice, but substantively denied.” – Tex Sample
United Methodist Clergy Speak about Racism and Discipleship
According to Rev. Tyler Sit, pastor of New City Church in Minneapolis (Minneapolis Annual Conference), “Following Jesus and being anti-racist are not separate things.” In this video presentation, Rev. Tyler invites the church as a community of followers of Jesus to understand that being anti-racist is a true embodiment of being disciples of Christ and the way we are participating in building the kingdom of God.
Five Ideas for Stewardship for Churches Seeking to be Actively Anti-Racist
By Ken Sloane
For United Methodists who have professed in their baptismal vows to “resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves,” standing up to rampant racism in our culture is imperative. As communities of baptized disciples, how we use our financial resources (both individually and as a church) should make a statement of our commitment to oppose the evil, injustice, and oppression as we join the fight against racist policies, practices, and institutions.
Breaking Barriers: Racial Justice Rooted in Baptism
By Israel Alvaran
Rev. Dr. Israel I. Alvaran (he/him/his), a clergy member of the Philippines Annual Conference, wrote this theological discourse with the hope that disciples of Jesus Christ would participate in the enduring struggle for dismantling racism as faithful expressions of their baptism as Christ’s disciples.
Resources for the Spiritual Work of Overcoming Racism
By The Upper Room Staff
The Upper Room is committed to a ministry that is increasingly global, anti-racist, and ecumenical. In these days, we are called to give special and focused attention to being anti-racist. This is the work of discipleship and spiritual formation.
Courageous Conversations about Race
By Scott Hughes
These lessons are designed with the goal for participants to be more aware of and assess their assumptions (right and wrong) about race.
Why Asian Americans Should Speak Out About Racism
By John Oda
The rising hate crimes against Asian Americans in the U.S. pose threats to the Asians and Asian-American communities in this country. These crimes must STOP! We, as individuals and as churches, must do something to combat this pervasive hatred against Asian Americans, and we must do it together, for it is an essential part of our discipleship.
Called to Witness, Care, and Act: A Message for Laity In and Beyond the UMC
By David Teel
In this brief letter, laity and clergy are invited to find strategies for seeing with the eyes of Christ and bearing witness to the crimes of racial prejudice and injustice. They are encouraged to nurture a healthy recovery from the empathy amnesia that afflicts all of us raised in the shadow of white supremacy. Beyond that, the message is to act, to do something, something that helps, right here, right now in the community of faith and beyond church walls.
De-Colonizing the Church: A Commitment to Anti-Racism
By Bryan Tener
This article presents highlights from the webinar series “Decolonizing the Church,” which focused on anti-racism as a way to move the church into the future. From naming the present reality to delving into United Methodist history to having conversations about leading through the local church, much wisdom was offered by academics, pastors, and community organizers.
The Burden is On Us: Anti-Racism in the White Church
By Wendy Hudson
As a predominantly white new church start, Two Rivers Church embraced from day one the value of inclusion, especially a commitment to anti-racism. As we begin dismantling racism in our own lives, our congregation, and our community, our connection to one another and to God began to deepen and our own commitments to God grew.