Even when it was formed in 1968, The United Methodist Church recognized itself as a work in progress. However, in its Constitution, it was definitive about where the people of God stand on matters of race. Our founding document states: “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.” (¶ 5. Article V. Racial Justice, Book of Discipline). We are called to live this out through our baptismal vows: “to resist evil, injustice, and oppression, in whatever form they present themselves.”
As we commit to transforming our lives, our churches, and our society, we acknowledge that we each enter this work in different places. We acknowledge that some people have been working for human rights for a significant amount of time, some have actively sought to better understand and embody antiracism and some don’t want to engage in this conversation at all. We acknowledge that no matter what we say or don’t say, it will not be enough for some and far too much for others. The chasm of experience between being a White person and a Black or Brown person in America must be crossed. This bridge requires not only faith in God, but enough faith in one another to begin the journey of healing, truth-telling, reconciliation, and hope.
We know that all people are sacred and worthy. We are made equal by God, who created humanity in God’s own image. Out of our deep love of God and neighbor, when we see people being treated as less than equal we will speak out.
Therefore, we invite you to pray about how God is calling you and your church to be engaged in dismantling racism, not for a moment, but for a lifetime. And to join the conversation at The Unfinished Church podcast. God is not finished with us.