Bishop Ward encourages us to continue learning and growing in our faithfulness toward anti-racism and to hold on to our hope for transformation in the world.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
We are grateful for the national holiday commemorating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As this holiday nears, we’re all beckoned into continued learning and continued commitment to the work of anti-racism.
Anti-racism is a central mission of the North Carolina Annual Conference. The Council of Bishops have identified anti-racism as a central mission of the entire connection of the United Methodist people, and I would commend to you two resources that I hope you will use your local church. We’re using these resources in the Council of Bishops. We’re using them in the Cabinet and the Leadership Team of the Annual Conference and you will find them helpful in conversations in your church around racism and our call to be anti-racists.
The first is a TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger of a Single Story.” Watch this video with other leaders in your church and then have meaningful conversation about any “single stories” that you discover in your own life experience.
Second, I hope you will use this short video. It captures Bryan Stevenson describing four pillars in his own life and work as an anti-racist. I find these pillars deeply helpful in my own life and ministry. First, examine the narrative to be sure that it is a correct and truthful one. The second, be proximate to pain. Draw near to people whose stories may be difficult and more painful than your own in regard to anti-racism. Third, expect pushback for the work of anti-racism is difficult. And fourth, protect your hopefulness.
There can be change. The life of Dr. Martin Luther King projected hopefulness, even in the midst of extreme difficulty that he described to the nation, an often unwilling nation. He declared his own dream, his vision from the mountain top. May we do the same in our life and ministry as we gather, have conversation, grow in faithful discipleship, and reach out to transform this whole world with the light of Christ.