As a newly transferred elder, I am so excited about serving GNJ as the champion for the Journey of Hope work. As a pastor who has had the great joy and challenge of serving in cross-cultural/cross-racial appointments, I know firsthand how important cultural competency and anti-racism work is for individuals, congregations, and GNJ.
GNJ enjoys great diversity, and yet has room to grow as we work together to end the sin of racism, build on past progress, and create a more just, inclusive, and equitable church and world. The JOH plan calls us to go beyond hoping for an end to racism towards leading the charge in dismantling the systems, practices, and beliefs that allow inequity and exclusion to flourish.
Racism is a system of oppression based on race that is a problem worldwide and in the words of Jemar Tisby, “everyone is either fighting racism or supporting it, whether actively or passively”. (1) Through the JOH, we will offer churches and individuals the opportunity to join the fight against racism. Working to end the sin of racism and the work of discipleship are not a “one size fits all” endeavor. My hope is that churches will assess where they are on the journey to racial justice and get in where they fit in.
For churches that have had little or no experience with cultural competency and seek greater vitality, I hope they will participate in Pathways where they may engage in modules on cultural competency and grow their vitality.
For churches where most members look alike but don’t reflect the diversity of their community, I hope they commit to the year-long Bridges program that will assist up to 75 churches in exploring diversity, missional opportunities, and cultivating relationships across lines of difference.
For churches ready to dig deeper into relationship building and anti-racism work, I hope will embark on creating and living into a Journey of Hope plan to do their part in ending the sin of racism.
No matter where your congregation is on the spectrum of cultural competency and anti-racism, there is a point of entry for you!
It is our hope that by engaging in this journey towards racial justice, we will move our mission forward by the transforming minds, hearts, and systems that God’s will might be done on earth as it is in heaven. If you are looking for ways to participate in the Journey of Hope plan to end the sin of racism you may contact:
- Gina Yeske for Pathways
- Allysa Ruch for the Bridges Program
- Ronell Howard if you would like to train as a facilitator or create a Journey of Hope plan for your congregation.