Resources for Responding to Systemic Racism
Discipleship Ministries has collected these resources to help churches address the topics of racism, systemic oppression, violence, and more.
Check back for updates to this page.
A new anti-racism online course through GCORR is now available, focusing on defining, identifying, and practicing anti-racism. The “30 Days of Anti-racism” campaign has also begun, which offers ways to engage and an invitation to reflect and share on social media. Discipleship Ministries and Path 1 invite you to move deeper into discipleship through working to become more anti-racist in the ways that we think and behave so that the world is transformed.
God calls us to stand as witnesses to this dual pandemic. As laity we are 99.2% of the church and our voices matter. We cannot sit as observers to these events. We will not go back to normal. We cannot be silent. We are vital to the unfolding of God’s hope for us, to be people who hold one another and the communities around us, in love. Our acts of witnessing are not those of a spectator or to record history, but to take action and cause change.
In this episode of the Worship Matters podcast, Director of Preaching Ministries, Dr. Derek Weber talks with Dr. Eric Barreto, Weyerhaeuser Associate Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary.Many preachers took the bold step of preaching about the racism pandemic after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent protests that sprang up around the world. Dr. Barreto argues that while a good beginning, there is more work to be done. Listen in on the conversation for some answers as to what’s next.
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.
Providing pastoral leadership with children often requires finding ways to answer tough questions. It seems that 2020 has had many days where difficult questions have been asked. Parents and caregivers are asking how to talk to children about the racial divide in this country and the protests against the systemic evil of racism. We have a responsibility to children to listen and truly hear their questions and offer a Christian response that demonstrates repentance and provides hope.
Summer months in children’s ministry means vacation Bible school or camp for children within the faith community and neighborhood. This summer, every church is having conversations about how to do summer VBS within its context. Included here are two good examples of how churches are responding to both the COVID-19 pandemic and racism. Churches identify the importance of providing programming to continue to offer children and their families hope, fun, and a reminder that God loves them deeply.
“Two Sundays after the murder of George Floyd. Again, no mention of BLM, George, Ahmaud, or race from our pulpit,” she said. “I’m heartbroken. If the Christian faith has nothing to say at a time like this, makes me wonder if it’s got anything to say about anything.”
That was what an active United Methodist layperson said to me last week. If we white preachers sit on the sidelines during the current national debate over white supremacist systems of violence against people of color, if we allow our congregations to miss out on the saving dimensions of Christ’s work, we are in danger of impugning and sidelining the gospel of Jesus Christ.
United Methodists around the world gathered online to pray and lament for the racism in our midst. Hear God's call to join in the work of dismantling racism and pressing on to freedom for all.
In this Kairos moment of protest and awakening, Discipleship Ministries and other agencies and bodies of the United Methodist Church are providing resources and guidance on how to become anti-racist individuals and churches. Please seek out the help you need in this time of transformation. The Worship Team of Discipleship Ministries believes, however, that such a change will not happen unless the whole process is bathed in prayer every step along the way. To that end, we will be providing daily prayers to help keep us all centered on the journey ahead.
Our nation is grieving. We are lamenting the violent actions of authorities, racism, and systemic oppression that has been on display in recent weeks. Meanwhile, most of us have not gathered in our church buildings for nearly three months during the global pandemic. As we make plans to regather for in-person worship, this virtual conference is designed to prepare your congregation to navigate these challenges.
By Junius B. Dotson
My friend’s note had a veneer of concern. “Just checking to see (if) you and family are safe.” the text began.
It then took a curious but familiar turn: “We can disagree and voice our concerns. We can perceive things differently and still be kind, respectful and polite. Violence and destruction just incite more violence and destruction. And eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth only benefits Visine and Crest.”
Some come from large churches; some come from small ones. Some come from white preachers; some from preachers of color. Some might seem bold, and others somewhat timid. But all chose to speak about the virus of racism that has sickened our society for far too long. It is time to speak. Listen to these preachers and take heart for the movement of the Spirit in The United Methodist Church. Listen and be encouraged to speak a hard truth.