The Unfinished Church is for all who are ready to unite and build a world in which racial prejudice has no power. Hosted by United Methodist Bishops LaTrelle Easterling, Michael McKee, and Gregory Palmer, this podcast is a place for discussion, learning and transformation. Join us as we move from conversation to action. God is not done with us. Our work is unfinished.
Meet the Bishops
The Unfinished Church is a collaboration between three United Methodist bishops working to bring people together to end the sin of racism.
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling
Resident Bishop of the Baltimore-Washington and Peninsula-Delaware Conferences of The United Methodist Church
Growing up in Indiana, I was aware of the pain and terror of racism. Only blocks from my home, a family discovered robes from the Ku Klux Klan in their attic. However, it didn’t become personal until my father was threatened with a racial epithet during a family vacation. I couldn’t believe that someone would verbally attack my father, one of the most soft-spoken, gentle people I knew. Whether on the playground, or in the classroom, or in a courtroom as a prosecuting attorney, it seems I have always been advocating for justice and inclusion. Too often, there are spaces between knowing and doing, light and darkness, presence and belonging, love and hate. At times, these spaces or gaps can be the difference between life and death. As a disciple and a servant leader, I am committed to interrogating those spaces and minding the gap in the church and in the world.
Bishop Michael McKee
Resident Bishop of the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church
From an early age, I wondered aloud why people put such an emphasis on our outward differences. As a young boy I saw separate water fountains in downtown Fort Worth: one set that said “for white people only,” and another that simply said “for colored.” Even before I was formed by the relevant understanding of race in my hometown, I knew this was not right. That seminal moment began my journey of understanding that all children are God’s children, all are precious in God’s sight. In different ways, I’ve continued to wrestle with this notion. Rather than dividing us further, our differences in race and ethnicity should be uniting us as ways to shape a better future for all our neighbors. What will you, and what will I do the next time we hear a racist or demeaning comment directed at another? Will we be silent, or will we speak a word of God’s truth and God’s justice?
Bishop Gregory Palmer
Resident Bishop of the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church
I was born and raised in Philadelphia by parents who loved and believed in me. They taught me to respect all people. As a teenager, often when there was an alleged crime in my community and police were looking for a suspect described as a big Black kid, I admit, a wave of fear would come over me when the police car rolled up. I was told on more than one occasion to put my hands on the hood of the car and to assume the position while police patted me down. I complied. And even though I had never participated in a crime, I was often treated as if I had. These experiences and others opened my eyes to one expression of racism and implicit bias, that to this day runs rampant in our society–and dare I say, even in our churches.
The United Methodist Church is a worldwide connection of more than 12 million members in Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States working together to make disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world. God’s work cannot be done without being in relationship.