The Conference Connectional Table (CCT) met April 18 at the Methodist Building in Garner. After a devotion by Ernesto Barriguete and communion led by Bishop Ward, the CCT moved into the day’s business.
- The communications team is looking to align the five values in the new weekly Connections email and in the website revision currently underway. The communications team has merged the daily email Threads with the Connections video to create the new weekly email.
- Two new teams are starting their work. The Abundant Health Team will focus on all health issues – physical, mental, and spiritual. The Creation Care Team will focus on education, theology, advocacy, and helping congregations do energy assessments.
The overview of the day was one of asking: What is the role of the CCT in empowering ministry committees and local congregations in making disciples for Jesus Christ and how does the CCT assist congregations and committees with their work toward achieving this goal? How can we build together on the work we have done?
Overview: Dismantling Racism
Statistics show the reality of our Annual Conference:
- 214,141 White (95.07%)
- 6,782 African American (3.01%)
- 2,502 Native American (1.11%)
- 1,239 Hispanic (.55%)
- 576 Asian (.26%)
The NC population within conference boundaries is 60% Caucasian; within the NC Conference church member population, it is 95% Causasian.
The ultimate goal established through the CCT and cabinet joint meeting is to have 100% of all appointed and assigned persons and their accompanying lay people trained in intercultural competencies by the end of 2020, to the end that churches are growing numerically and growing in diversity.
District Reports: Dismantling Racism
Prior to the meeting, district superintendents answered five questions about what their districts are doing to dismantle racism, what challenges they are encountering, what resources would be helpful to them, and how the CCT might provide more assistance. Read the District Reports.
Discussion: Dismantling Racism
The CCT considered the question: How are/can ministry committees carry further the work of dismantling racism and creating the Beloved Community?
Main discussion points included:
- Many of us do not think of white as race; we think of it as normative. Our conference is mostly white and, as whites, we first have some internal work to do as we sort through our history. Those of us who are white need to acknowledge that when the church merged 50 years ago, there were those who needed to become a subset.
- The goal is Beloved Community, and dismantling racism is a means to achieving that goal.
- Developing relationships is critical. Good places to start include shared activities – e.g., meals, Rise Against Hunger event, Racial Taboo event, etc.
- For the good of the whole, it is essential to capture what districts and individual churches are doing to dismantle racism. A useful tool for churches might be an instrument for them to self-evaluate: Where am I in this process? Where is our church? Where do we want to be?
- Reading books together could be a strong component of preparation and understanding. Reading the stories of others has a powerful appeal. Possible ideas include having a book-a-month across the conference or reading 6 books in a year to give time in-between to engage with others who had read the book and to allow opportunity to introduce each book through Possible titles were suggested.
- Utilizing Lent writing for sharing our stories could be another powerful shared experience.
Upcoming Events: Dismantling Racism
- The Transition Workshop, held April 19, included one-hour workshops on seven subjects such as welcoming a woman pastor into a congregation that has not had one before, transitioning from being a part-time pastor to full time, and cross racial and cross ethnic appointments.
- Bescye Burnette will lead 8 hours on intercultural competencies for the Leadership Fellows in September.
- Crossroads Retreat #2 will be September 13-15 at a Methodist church in Greensboro. Meant to follow the first conference, it will be broader in scope with more focus on skill-building and policy-making. As a Pan Methodist event, it is expected to draw 200-300 people.
- Two breakout sessions will be offered at Annual Conference:
- Generous, Adaptive & Effective Leadership in a Multicultural World (Bishop Holston)
- Generosity for Our Immigrant Neighbors (Emergency Family Task Force)
In summary, great things are happening NOW in our conference, as reported through the district summaries. The CCT will follow up on ways it can support these local efforts, while continuing to pursue and develop strategies to reinforce and boost them. Conference-wide activities, like reading, sharing our stories, and participating in training events, will knit us together throughout the conference as we grow in this work.
The Conference Connectional Table (CCT) is a forum for the understanding, casting forth, and implementation for the vision of the conference.