Dear United Methodist friends,
Grace and peace on this first day of February. As Black History Month unfolds, we honor the active and retired Black clergy who serve among us. Their strength, wisdom, and leadership continue to gift our conference, our churches, and our global connection.
We are deeply grateful for your leadership toward God’s beloved community in the North Carolina Conference. A central priority in our shared life is the deeply spiritual work of affirming humanity’s beautiful diversity, welcoming all people, and creating a world free from racism.
We celebrate Black History Month in the spirit of Sankofa. Sankofa is the rich, beautiful Ghanaian practice of looking back to pull the past into the present wisely.
We invite conference-wide commitment in this spirit throughout February and into the months to come. We are learning from one another, gathering up ideas and initiatives in local places. Classes and groups are reading and discussing books, your church websites contain excellent resources, District anti-racism teams offer creative leadership, and the conference staff offers vigilant guidance. We are demonstrating that we yearn for the abundant life in community that God dreams for the human family.
We announce today the launch of a new podcast, Deep Reckonings, featuring the witness of lay and clergy as they share personal journeys, struggles, and hopes.
During February, let us all extend ourselves in new ways. Let us celebrate what we know and be enriched by learning more as we explore the intertwining history of all people.
- Read a book that expands your understanding of the breadth and depth of Black history
- Watch a movie that centers Black history, leaders, and movements and discuss it with others
- Support a Black-owned business
- Amplify Black voices who are reshaping history by following Black creators, writers, and artists on social media platforms
- Look for historical markers in your community that center Black lives
- Research the Black history of your community, town, or county
- Write a note of thanks to HBCU presidents and encourage students in these colleges and universities
- Support Black farmers
- Work to support policies that increase voting rights for Black people
- Work against policies that disenfranchise Black voting
- Send a note of thanks to your Black clergy colleagues
In February, the North Carolina Conference will offer resources for beloved community and anti-racism, including a new anti-racism web page.
Thank you for all the ways we will live and learn together, encouraging one another to faithfulness in this essential aspect of discipleship.
With gratitude to God for all our life together,
Hope Morgan Ward
Cabinet Spiritual Director and Advisor for Inclusion and Equity