Bishop Ward discusses the importance of ending racism, as we work with the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Work towards ending racism will be upheld through a training provided by the Institute for Dismantling Racism (IDR). Fifty leaders in the Conference will be trained and then work with churches throughout the NC Conference to help eradicate racism.
Correction: The event with Dr. Christena Cleveland Bishop Ward refers to will be held October 21.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, who bids us be reconciled to one another. In the weeks of this summer following the great tragedy, the shooting deaths at Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, I have noticed, in communications from our churches, the number of ways in which you have been engaged with your neighbors. You are bringing comfort. You are seeking to build friendship, and you are embodying the love of Christ.
As we engage with our A.M.E. neighbors, in study, in worship, in services of remembrance, we have demonstrated our desire to be reconciled and to be reconcilers in the world. The African Methodist Episcopal Council of Bishops have issued a letter of invitation, a challenge, to all churches beyond their communion to join with them in the month of September to continue to think, to pray, to tell the truth, and to move to a better place as we live with one another in the world. So, I extend that invitation to you, to continue this good witness through the month of September. In September, on September 10, there will be a day of training led by the Institute for Dismantling Racism. Fifty leaders, including the district superintendents and the assistants to the district superintendents and persons, laity and clergy from each district, will be trained. After this training, they will be available to you, in your local setting, to help you create events that will be life giving and reconciling.
Also in October, on the 21th of October, there will be a gathering at 2 p.m., at the United Methodist Building in Garner; a conversation led by Dr. Christena Cleveland, the new director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School.
I hope you see that in these ways, from the center, I am trying to lead in such a way, that we all can step forward to embody the grace and love of Christ. My prayers are with you as you engage this difficult conversation, this important work, this essential ministry of “walking across the street” and extending the grace of Christ.