June 11, 2020 | GNJ NewsRead This Article
Upcoming Events from GCORR and GNJ Board of Church & Society
Listening Sessions to Address Racism
UPDATED 6/24: More than 200 people participated in the three racial justice listening sessions that finished up this past Monday. The diverse audience reinforced the need for change and a call for action toward racial justice following the suffocation of George Floyd by a police officer. GNJ individuals and congregations have participated in rallies and demonstrations, pastors have preached messages and have led conversations about a faithful response for racial justice, inclusion, equity and ending racism.
“The majority of people across GNJ want change,” said Bishop John Schol who sent two letters to GNJ leadership and had conversations with leaders across GNJ. Schol added, “it is clear that many United Methodist understand racism to be a sin and that we can and want to do better in ending racism in the church and working to end racism in society.”
The listening sessions also pointed out that people have widely different understandings and hopes. Some see racism as personal, an individual’s beliefs and values and if we can help people to be more loving, accepting and understanding, we can end racism. Others build on personal racism and see that racism is institutional and structural and is part of the fabric of the way GNJ or the church and society operate, and ending racism is creating just systems and repairing the harm that has been done.
A diverse group of leaders from across GNJ is reviewing the next steps with the hope of presenting a plan to the next annual conference session. Groups across GNJ will have the opportunity to provide input and recommendations in late July before the final plan is proposed.
In the aftermath of police killings of unarmed Black people, the bishops of The United Methodist Church called on all United Methodists to act now by using their voices, pens, feet and hearts to end racism. The Council of Bishops are calling every United Methodist to name the egregious sin of racism and white supremacy and join together to take a stand against the oppression and injustice that is killing persons of color.
As part of the that pledge, for at least the next 30 days, all United Methodists everywhere are asked to join in prayer at 8:46 a.m. and p.m. for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the time the officer held his knee on George Floyd’s neck. “Pray for all persons of color who suffer at the hands of injustice and oppression. Pray for our church as we take a stand against racism.”