In Episode 1, we hear the first of two seemingly different stories that converge into one powerful narrative. As we begin a three-episode series, Steve Taylor shares his experience of becoming an anti-racist.
New Anti-Racism Resources
February is Black History Month, and anti-racism is a priority of the North Carolina Conference and The United Methodist Church. The print and online resources listed here will enable your church or small group to learn more about and participate in anti-racism.
The online resources listed below can be obtained by following the links to their websites.
New Resources You Can Borrow
Justice or Just Us? The Biblical Call to Confront Racism by Rob Fuquay, Nicole Caldwell-Gross, and Jevon Caldwell-Gross. This 4-session video study helps you acknowledge the reality of racism in our world today, as well as our Christian responsibility to oppose it as individuals and together as the church.
Each video is approximately twenty minutes long, with places to pause and discuss questions with your small group. A downloadable leader pack can be purchased from Cokesbury to help leaders facilitate the discussion and take the next steps of making an anti-racism commitment at your church.
The authors are pastors at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. This resource is based on a sermon series and anti-racism commitment at that church.
I’m Black. I’m Christian. I’m Methodist. edited by Rudy Rasmus. Ten Black women and men explore life through the lens of compelling personal religious narratives. They are people and leaders whose lives are tangible demonstrations of the power of a divine purpose and evidence of what grace really means in face of hardship, disappointment, and determination.
One of the ten authors who contribute to this book is NC Conference pastor Justin Coleman who writes about pastoring a white Methodist Church. Rev. Coleman recently spoke about the book on the NC Conference podcast, Voices.
All of the authors participated in an online discussion of the book hosted by M. Garlinda Burton, the Interim General Secretary of The General Commission on Religion and Race.
There’s a Storm Comin’: How the American Church Can Lead Through Times of Racial Crisis by Dr. Harold Dorrell Briscoe Jr. Drawing from current sociological, psychological, and political research, Dorrell makes the case that the church must take proactive measures to prepare for racialized crises.
Dorrell then recommends strategies drawn from the academic and professional fields of climate change adaptation and natural disaster mitigation. These insights are synthesized with biblical data to create a framework that gives churches practical steps to prepare for and respond to racialized crises that inflict trauma on the social fabric of America.
Dr. Harold Dorrell Briscoe, Jr. is a writer, speaker, pastor, and public theologian. He finished his Doctor of Ministry degree at Duke University in 2017. He is the founder and Lead Pastor of The Six:Eight Church in Durham, North Carolina. Six:Eight’s vision is to build a gospel community that is intentionally diverse, cross-cultural and neighborhood-centered by engaging and developing ministries in Downtown Durham and the Hayti Community.
Becoming Brave: Finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now by Brenda Salter McNeil. McNeil calls the church to repair the old reconciliation paradigm by moving beyond individual racism to address systemic injustice, both historical and present. Looking through the lens of the biblical narrative of Esther, McNeil challenges Christian reconcilers to recognize the particular pain in our world so they can work together to repair what is broken while maintaining a deep hope in God’s ongoing work for justice.
This book offers a distinctly Christian framework for addressing systemic injustice. It challenges Christians to be everyday activists who become brave enough to break the silence and work with others to dismantle systems of injustice and inequality.
Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is associate professor of reconciliation studies at Seattle Pacific University and director of the Reconciliation Studies program. She is also associate pastor of preaching and reconciliation at Quest Church in Seattle. She has led the church in pursuing reconciliation efforts over the past three decades. In this work, she has come to the conviction that reconciliation is not true reconciliation without justice.
How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice by Jemar Tisby. Tisby has written a handbook for pursuing racial justice with hands-on suggestions bolstered by real-world examples of change. He offers an array of actionable items to confront racism in our relationships and in everyday life through a simple framework–the A.R.C. Of Racial Justice–that helps readers consistently interrogate their own actions and maintain a consistent posture of anti-racist action. Tisby roots the ultimate solution to racism in the Christian faith as we embrace the implications of what Jesus taught his followers.
Readers of the book will come away with a clear model for how to think about race in productive ways and a compelling call to dismantle a social hierarchy long stratified by skin color.
Jemar Tisby (BA, University of Notre Dame, MDiv Reformed Theological Seminary) is the New York Times Bestselling author of The Color of Compromise and president of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective where he writes about race, religion, politics, and culture. He is also cohost of the Pass the Mic podcast. He has spoken nationwide at conferences and his writing has been featured in the Washington Post, CNN, and Vox. Jemar is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Mississippi studying race, religion, and social movements in the twentieth century.
Additional Resources You Can Borrow
Our entire collection of anti-racism books, studies, and more is listed in our Anti-Racism pathfinder. This list includes resources for children.
We also have many resources on the history of Black people in The United Methodist Church. You can find a list of these and other relevant resources in our African American Resources pathfinder. This list includes resources for children.
During the George Floyd protests, we posted a list of 9 Things Your Church Can Do to Fight Racism with recommended print and online resources.
Message from Our Bishop
In this short video, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward encourages the continued pursuit of anti-racism and recommends two online videos to begin conversations.
In February 2021, the NC Conference will launch a new anti-racism web page that will explore our strategy, stories, resources, and more.
NC Conference Podcasts
The Directors of Connectional Ministries from The North Carolina Conference gathered to discuss efforts in anti-racism on a personal and conference-wide level in this episode of the Voices podcast. Part 2 is also available.
The NC Conference has also launched a new podcast, Deep Reckonings, with personal stories from experiences with culture, race, and racism.
The Baltimore-Washington Conference has posted a free Lenten study that can be done with any adult small group on your own time, Reclaiming and Living Covenant: A Lenten Experience of Scripture, UMC Social Principles and Antiracist Action to Build Beloved Community.
De-Colonizing the Church Webinar Series
A team of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) pastors and church planters developed a five-week webinar in the hopes that judicatory leaders, pastors, and laity could learn more about the inherent racism in the church and commit to de-colonize The United Methodist Church in America. Join De-Colonizing the Church: A Commitment to Anti-Racism every Thursday from 2-3:15 p.m. beginning February 18th.
Asian American Anti-Racism Statement
The Asian American Language Ministry Plan, the New Federation of Asian American United Methodists, and the General Board of Church and Society produced a video statement against racism read by 12 young people representing 12 Asian-American Caucuses of the United Methodist Church. One of the young people in the video is Kristina De Jesus, daughter of Rev. Edgar De Jesus (Lead Pastor of Davis Street UMC). Kristina is currently serving as the CYC Representative of the Corridor District.
R-Squared by GCORR
The General Commission on Religion and Race hosts an online resource hub, R-Squared. It includes online classes, workbooks to download, discussion guides, videos, tip sheets, infographics, worship resources, and more.
Find a collection of online resources for racial justice work created by the general agencies of The United Methodist Church on the Resource UMC website.
UMC Panel Discussions
Several agencies of The United Methodist Church have hosted online panel discussions on dismantling racism. These discussions are still happening periodically and recorded conversations can be viewed online.
Discipleship Ministries of the UMC has collected Resources for Responding to Systemic Racism to help churches address the topics of racism, systemic oppression, violence, and more. It includes featured resources from around the denomination and a sign-up for daily prayers for anti-racism.
Acting Against Racism
The Christian Century recently published a free 14-page downloadable guide, Acting Against Racism, that offers articles from the Century’s archives, study questions meant to spark thought and conversation, and specific action steps to pursue.
Race and Christianity in the U.S.
This free online video series by Professor Sarah Ruble traces the history of slavery, racism, and the involvement of the Christian church in the United States. A free online study guide is also available.
Becoming an Anti-Racist Church
This downloadable mini-course is designed to give participants a chance to review and unpack the concepts and vocabulary introduced in the two-day Racial Equity Institute (REI) Phase I anti-racism workshop. The curriculum was developed and is offered by Episcopalians United Against Racism.
Board of Ordained Ministry Shares Anti-Racism Efforts
The North Carolina Conference Board of Ordained Ministry is committed to anti-racism and to ongoing practices of review, reflection, and learning as we engage with candidates throughout the licensing and ordination process.
In order to hold ourselves accountable and for greater transparency, we are eager to share the following update with United Methodists throughout the NC Conference.
In August 2020, the BOM gathered for its quadrennial training session. We welcomed 17 new members, with the following demographic breakdown:
Hispanic / Latino: 2
Native American: 1
Members under the age of 35: 6
As a part of this training, the Rev. Ismael Ruiz-Millán led us in an introduction to Cultural Humility. Since this meeting, BOM members have completed the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), and will go over their results in one-on-one meetings. Learn more about Cultural Humility and the IDI here. In early 2021, Rev. Ruiz-Millán will share an overview of the aggregate results with the Executive Committee of the BOM, and will also work with the seven Discernment Teams on the BOM as they discuss their team results.
Additionally, the newly formed BOM Anti-Racism Task Force will spend extended time over the next year evaluating our processes and requirements, learning and naming where white supremacy culture is infecting our work, seeking tangible ways to be anti-racist in our engagement with candidates, and offering opportunities for candidates to reflect on their practices of and leadership toward anti-racism in their own contexts. Members of this task force include current BOM members, former BOM members, and pastors who have more recently completed the ordination process. They are:
Laura Fine Ledford
We believe that data tells a story and is important as we continue to shepherd our candidates. To that end, we are evaluating data from the past five years, related to those who have been approved or delayed for commissioning or ordination, including the reason for delay in those cases. This data should be available to the BOM and shared with the Conference in early 2021.
Thank you to the voices that are calling us to uncover what is unhealthy in our practices, and to the voices teaching us to engage as we move forward. This work is a gift, as it helps us to know deeper truths and to love our neighbor well. It will, we believe, help to set each of us free.
The Rev. Sangwoo Kim, BOM Secretary
Dr. Margaret Brunson, BOM Vice-Chair
The Rev. Laura Fine Ledford, BOM Chair
Young Clergy Issue Call to Dismantle Anti-Blackness Supremacy
A group of young clergy in The North Carolina Conference have developed a series of letters as a call to action in the work of dismantling racism. The three letters collectively comprise “A Call to Dismantle Anti-Blackness Supremacy” and are intended to stand alongside the Bishop’s Summons to Witness, Protest, and Promise.
From the “Repent” letter: “We offer this series of letters as an act of witness, protest, and a call to action for all who would continue to work together to discover freedom in the painful work of telling the truth about ourselves while seeking justice for all people . . . We write this in hopes that the Holy Spirit will lead us into holy friendships with one another in and through our orders, and in those friendships, we pray that God will burst open our racial imagination for the sake of our United Methodist Church.”
Clergy and laity alike are invited to read the three letters, sign them, and share them with colleagues and friends as we continue this work together.
9 Things Your Church Can Do to Fight Racism
There are many wonderful lists of resources being shared around the Internet showing that every one of us can do something to fight racism. We recommend 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice and Anti-Racism Resources for White People.
We are offering our own list of resources that you can borrow from the NC Conference Media Center, or access online through United Methodist Church general agencies, along with 9 ways to use these resources to take action in your church to fight racism.
1. Host a Zoom conversation.
Or Google Meet or Facebook Rooms or whichever platform you prefer. Don’t wait until we can meet in-person. Take advantage of online meetings to gather small groups with a trained facilitator to lead conversations about race. These resources will train you on how to lead these conversations.
Holding Up Your Corner: Talking about Race in Your Community by F. Willis Johnson. United Methodist Pastor Johnson was the leader of a church in Ferguson, MO during the riots there after the police shooting of Michael Brown. After that experience, he wrote this resource to provide churches with a self-directed process of determining what role your church can play in your specific community. You’ll learn how to use testimony and other narrative devices, proclamation, guided group conversations, and other tactics in order to own the calling and responsibility we have as Christians. The videos that accompany the book include personal stories related to the discussion points in the guided conversation. A participant book is also available.
Anxious to Talk About It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully About Racism by Carolyn B. Helsel. Presbyterian Pastor and Professor Carolyn B. Helsel draws on her success with white congregations to offer insight and tools to embrace, explore, and work through the anxious feelings that often arise in these hard conversations. Participants will learn how to join conversations with courage, compassion, and knowledge of self, others, and the important issues at stake. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection and discussion to further help you get the conversations started.
How To Have a Courageous Conversation by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. This booklet provides practical guidance and a biblical basis on how to have courageous conversations in your church, whether they are interpersonal or churchwide conversations. You can download this book as a free PDF or borrow a print copy from the Media Center.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don’t dare ask and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.
Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice by Gregory C. Ellison, II. Candler Professor Ellison offers another idea for important conversations. Invite people from all parts of the community to seek real solutions to problems of chronic unemployment, violence, and hopelessness. Ellison has been hosting these conversations and now he provides others with the steps that must be taken to find common ground in our divided communities and then to implement genuine and lasting change.
Moving Faith Communities to Fruitful Conversations about Race by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. This series of four online videos is a dialogue about race in America that may be used to help your church bring people together to talk about moving forward bravely and boldly in the name of Christ. The video titles are: Why should race be a central focus? Why should local congregations participate in these conversations? What can your congregation do to make a difference? How can congregations partner with law officials in the community?
Racial Justice Conversations Guide by The General Commission on Religion and Race of The United Methodist Church. These resources are intended to help get you started and create building blocks for additional work. It provides a helpful outline for a first conversation.
Meaningful Conversations on Race: A Discussion Guide by The General Commission on Religion and Race of The United Methodist Church. Watch the video with Rev. Dr. David Anderson Hooker and follow the discussion prompts. This video is recommended for use with an interracial group.
Acting Against Racism Conversation Guide by The Christian Century. This 14-page downloadable guide offers articles from the Century’s archives, study questions meant to spark thought and conversation, and specific action steps to pursue.
2. Do a small group study about racism.
Dialogues on Race
The DVD and learner book combine to lead a conversational experience about race. Each topic is packed with well-researched information, but brought to life with the lived experience and stories of people at the center of the topic. A facilitator’s guide is also available.
Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love
by William H. Willimon
This DVD study invites readers to consider the Gospel command to love (and not merely tolerate) those considered to be “Other.” Emphasizing the biblical mandate to receive Others in their particularity and difference as gifts and mysteries bearing the grace of God, this study also offers a strong critique of the privileged who all too often rush to the language of reconciliation and evade the huge inequalities surrounding conversations and practices dealing with xenophobia and injustice.
This video series from the General Commission on Religion and Race of The United Methodist Church features contemporary theologians, sociologists, laity, clergy, and other thought-leaders dealing with challenges of race, culture, and oppression in the church and world today. Each video includes a discussion guide making this an excellent series for small groups. The entire series can be viewed online, or you can borrow the first two series on DVD. See the video below with Reverend Cynthia Moore-KoiKoi as an example.
Race and Christianity in the U.S.
Professor Sarah Ruble has posted a free 8-part online video series on Race and Christianity in the United States. Using primary sources, focusing on key events, and sharing little-known facts, Professor Ruble gives a historian’s view of how race was socially and legislatively constructed in the United States and the effects of those constructions on the racial issues we are confronting today. The series even includes a fair bit of Methodist history as you can see in the video below.
Amplify, the United Methodist video streaming platform, has given free access to many of their video resources on race. It includes:
- Complete multi-week studies: Holding Up Your Corner, Fear of the Other, The Shout
- Video series for the book, Black & White
- Video-only series: Building Bridges
- Devotional videos
3. Lead a small group study authored by a person of color that is not about racism.
Soul Reset: Breakdown, Breakthrough, and the Journey to Wholeness by Junius B. Dotson. Rev. Dotson is General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. He recalls his own journey through grief, depression, burnout, and emotional breakdown to call everyone to a soul reset. By exploring how Jesus shows us an unforced rhythm of what kingdom work looks like, Dotson reveals a balance of work, rest, play, worship, exercise, and eating well—spiritual practices that keep our souls hydrated and healthy as we do the work of the church in the world. This DVD study is available for small groups and as a churchwide study for all ages.
Hope for Hard Times: Lessons on Faith from Elijah and Elisha by Magrey deVega. Particularly helpful during our current times, United Methodist Pastor deVega focuses on God’s messages to Elijah and Elisha during their hard times: God is with you and will give you everything you need. This book study has a companion leader’s guide. Short videos for each session are available on Abingdon Press’s YouTube channel.
A Grace-Full Life: God’s All-Reaching, Soul-Saving, Character-Shaping, Never-Ending Love by Jorge Acevedo & Wes Olds. United Methodist Pastor Acevedo examines a Wesleyan understanding of grace for the common person. Participants will learn about various forms of grace—prevenient grace, justifying grace, sanctifying grace, and glorifying grace—and come away knowing how God’s grace truly works in your life.
I’m Waiting, God: Finding Blessing in God’s Delays by Barbara Roose. Barb Roose invites us to explore the stories of women in the Bible who had to wait for God—women like Hannah, Ruth, Tamar, and the unnamed woman who suffered for over a decade with a painful medical condition. If you feel anxious, angry, discouraged, or depressed because God isn’t giving you what you want, their stories will breathe fresh hope into your life and offer you practical next steps in your time of waiting. We also have Roose’s study, Beautiful Already: Reclaiming God’s Perspective on Beauty.
Watch Your Mouth: Understanding the Power of the Tongue by Tony Evans. Rev. Dr. Evans shows how to glorify God with your speech in this DVD presentation that includes four sessions of powerful teaching and moving personal testimonies. Learn to use your words in mighty ways and model with your mouth the character of God.
4. Start a book club.
Black & White: Disrupting Racism One Friendship at a Time by Teesha Hadra and John Hambrick. Hadra, a young black woman, and Hambrick, an older white man, served as pastors together and formed a friendship. Using their story as an example, we learn how racism can be disrupted when we risk forging friendships with those who do not look like us. Readers are equipped to take faithful, practical, next steps in obedience to God’s call to join the movement against racism, changing the way we see the world, which, in turn, could actually bring change to the world. Short videos to accompany this book are available on Abingdon Press’s YouTube channel.
All the Colors We Will See: Reflections on Barriers, Brokenness, and Finding Our Way by Patrice Gopo. Currently a North Carolinian, Patrice Gopo grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, the child of Jamaican immigrants who had little experience being black in America. From her white Sunday school classes as a child, to her early days of marriage in South Africa, to a new home in the American South with a husband from another land, Patrice’s life is a testament to the challenges and beauty of the world we each live in, a world in which cultures overlap every day. Patrice’s reflections guide us as we consider our own journeys toward belonging, challenging us to wonder if the very differences dividing us might bring us together after all. A free discussion guide is available online.
Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. Just as Reconstruction after the Civil War worked to repair a desperately broken society, our compromised Christianity requires a spiritual reconstruction that undoes the injustices of the past. Wilson-Hartgrove traces his journey from the religion of the slaveholder to the Christianity of Christ. Grappling seriously with troubling history and theology, Wilson-Hartgrove recovers the subversiveness of the gospel that sustained the church through centuries of slavery and oppression, from the civil rights era to the Black Lives Matter movement and beyond. A free study guide for this book can be downloaded.
Stakes Is High: Race, Faith, and Hope for America by Michael W. Waters. Pastor, activist, and community leader Michael W. Waters blends hip-hop lyricism and social justice leadership, creating an urgent voice demanding that America listen to the suffering if it hopes to redeem its soul. Weaving stories from centuries of persecution against the backdrop of today’s urban prophets on the radio and in the streets, Waters speaks on behalf of an awakened generation raging against racism – yet fueled by the promise of a just future. A free companion guide for this book can be downloaded.
America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis. Rev. Wallis offers a prophetic and deeply personal call to action in overcoming the racism so ingrained in American society. He speaks candidly to Christians–particularly white Christians–urging them to cross a new bridge toward racial justice and healing. Probing yet positive, biblically rooted yet highly practical, this book shows people of faith how they can work together to overcome the embedded racism in America, galvanizing a movement to cross the bridge to a multiracial church and a new America. The book’s website provides a study guide and other resources.
Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God by Kelly Brown Douglas. In the aftermath of the murder of Trayvon Martin, Rev. Dr. Douglas examines the myths and narratives underlying a “stand-your-ground” culture, taking seriously the social as well as the theological questions raised by this and similar events, from Ferguson, Missouri to Staten Island, New York.
Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman. In this classic theological treatise, the acclaimed theologian and religious leader Howard Thurman (1900-1981) demonstrates how the gospel may be read as a manual of resistance for the poor and disenfranchised. Jesus is a partner in the pain of the oppressed and the example of His life offers a solution to ending the descent into moral nihilism. Hatred does not empower—it decays. Only through self-love and love of one another can God’s justice prevail. A free reader’s guide can be downloaded.
The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James H. Cone. The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk. A free reader’s guide can be downloaded.
5. Provide a parenting class.
Use these books to educate parents and children’s ministry leaders on how to talk with and teach children about race and diversity.
The ABCs of Diversity: Helping Kids Embrace Our Differences by Y. Joy Harris-Smith and Carolyn Helsel. This just-published book equips parents, teachers, and community leaders to address children of all ages on complicated topics of race, political affiliation, gender, class, religion, ability, nationality, and sexual orientation. It includes specific resources and activities for younger and older children that parents and community leaders can employ to encourage compassion and empathy.
Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey. Dr. Harvey helps parents, teachers, and churches enter into a dialogue about the impact of racism on our children and offers guidance for sharing our commitment to equity and justice. This book provides guidance on what we should teach kids about race and how to equip them when they encounter racism.
Hand in Hand: Helping Children Embrace Diversity. This book provides a five-session course for kids in grades K-6 to help them learn to appreciate and celebrate the diversity in God’s family. Sessions address issues of differences, prejudice, inclusion, unity, and how to celebrate diversity.
6. Read diverse books to kids.
Include the reading of diverse picture books in your children’s ministry, both online and in-person when we gather again. Keep these books in the children’s ministry rooms and make sure all races are represented in the toys you have available.
You are welcome to borrow the following books from our collection to get started or supplement your own collection. You can find many more diverse children’s books listed at Sacred Worth Books and We Need Diverse Books.
The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Tim Ladwig. In this book, the Beatitudes — from Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount — form the backdrop for Carole Boston Weatherford’s powerful free-verse poem that traces the African American journey from slavery to civil rights. Tim Ladwig’s stirring illustrations showcase a panorama of heroes in this struggle, from the slaves shackled in the hold of a ship to the first African American president taking his oath of office on the steps of the United States Capitol.
Luis y Mia / Mia and Luis written by Mónica Reyna and L.J. Zimmerman with illustrations by Marce Gómez. This is a flip-over book that tells the story of a cross-cultural friendship from each child’s perspective. Luis is the child of Mexican immigrants and Mia is a White American child. The stories will help children ages 6-9 understand the importance of showing love to people who are different, apologizing when you’re wrong, forgiving one another, and making everyone feel welcome. Both stories are in English and Spanish.
All The Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka. Inspired by her own two children’s multi-ethnic heritage, Hamanaka uses soaring text and beautiful art to celebrate the glorious diversity of children laughing, loving, and glowing with life.
God Makes Us Different by Helen Caswell. This book shows young readers that even though we are different, all of us are beautiful and special in God’s eyes.
7. Take an online course.
The General Commission on Religion and Race of The United Methodist Church offers these three self-paced online courses.
Anti-Racism 101: Required Skills for White People Who Want to be Allies centers on one big idea: the differences between anti-racism and defending oneself against charges of racism. As a 101 course, content will focus on defining anti-racism as interrupting and dismantling racism; identifying which actions fall into categories of anti-racism, avoidance, or defending oneself against charges of racism; and building resilience to white fragility.
You Are Here: First Steps for White Christians on Race and Racism is an online course for Christians who want to acquire a fundamental understanding of race and racism from a biblical perspective. This four-part self-directed course offers videos featuring Robin DiAngelo and Rev. Dr. Anderson Hooker, reflections, and activities to help people of faith to recognize racism and begin to challenge it in their lives.
Implicit Bias: What We Don’t Think We Think. The General Commission on Religion and Race of The United Methodist Church hosts this free self-paced online course. It was created for anyone who is interested in learning and teaching others about implicit bias. The learning engagements included in each section allow for individual work, group work, and sermon preparation. It honors the contextual wisdom that you and others will bring to this material. Each exercise is an invitation to the sacred journey of discovering with your church and community how God is leading you to use this material faithfully within your context.
8. Make an action plan.
There’s a Storm Comin’: How the American Church Can Lead Through Times of Racial Crisis. Just published, this book makes the case that the church must take proactive measures to prepare for racialized crises. Durham Pastor Briscoe recommends strategies drawn from the academic and professional fields of climate change adaptation and natural disaster mitigation. These insights are synthesized with biblical data to create a framework that gives churches practical steps to prepare for and respond to racialized crises that inflict trauma on the social fabric of America.
United Against Racism: Churches for Change by The National Council of the Churches in the USA. This book is a call to an authentic Christianity, a religion that strives to become God’s inclusive, beloved community. It summons Christians to pray, think, and act to end racism. The book includes history, biblical exegesis, prayers, activities, and bibliographies to help churches take action against racism.
Worship Together in Your Church as in Heaven by Josh Davis and Nikki Lerner. This book aims to show how can we offer worship that is authentic and engaging for all of God’s people, including longtime church members. The authors offer an empathetic, step-by-step approach, providing readers with knowledge, skills, and strategies to successfully introduce inclusive, multicultural worship in any setting.
Being the Church in a Multi-Ethnic Community: Why It Matters and How It Works by Gary L. McIntosh and Alan McMahan. This book is an introductory guide, a basic primer for pastors and congregation leaders who are wrestling with how to reach the ethnic groups next door and welcome them into the multi-ethnic body of Christ. Rather than being a one-size-fits-all, this book describes a variety of approaches for bringing multiple ethnicities together into a single congregation. Learn how your church can be effective in welcoming disciples of all ethnicities.
Creating Change Together: A Toolkit for Faithful Civic Engagement by The General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church. Some racial issues are political issues. Use this free online toolkit to find the biblical and United Methodist grounding for civic engagement as well as strategies and tactics that you can do as an individual or group to pursue the common good. It includes instructions for prayer vigils, engaging with decision makers, and more.
Who Lynched Willie Earle? Preaching to Confront Racism by Will Willimon. How do pastors of white, mainline Protestant churches preach effectively in situations of racial violence and dis-ease? Even though you long to address contemporary social crises, how do you know where to begin when it’s simply not possible to relate to black pain? Willimon uses the true story of pastor Hawley Lynn’s 1947 sermon, a response to the last lynching in Greenville, South Carolina, to help pastors preach on race and violence in America, inviting and challenging the church to respond.
Blue Note Preaching in a Post-Soul World: Finding Hope in an Age of Despair by Otis Moss, III. Moss challenges preachers to preach with a “Blue Note sensibility,” which speaks directly to the tragedies faced by their congregants without falling into despair. He then offers four powerful sermons that illustrate his Blue Note preaching style. In them, Moss beautifully and passionately brings to life biblical characters that speak to today’s pressing issues, including race discrimination and police brutality, while maintaining a strong message of hope.
How to Preach a Dangerous Sermon: Preaching and Moral Imagination by Frank A. Thomas. Learn to use four characteristics of preaching with moral imagination to proclaim freedom for all. The author describes the four characteristics using examples like Robert F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Pauli Murray, and the Moral Monday Movement, along with musicians and other artists of today. This book equips and empowers preachers to transcend their basic skills and techniques so that their proclamation of the Word causes actual turnaround in the hearts and lives of their hearers, and in their communities.
Preaching and the Human Condition: Loving God, Self, & Others by O. Wesley Allen, Jr. Sermons often suffer from a lack of adequate analysis and presentation of the human condition. Jesus was all about the human condition. He didn’t skirt around real-life needs and difficult circumstances by offering simple messages of self-help. But sometimes that’s exactly what we do in our sermons when we aim at high and noble ideals yet ignore the “bad news” of the world. Rev. Dr. Allen proposes the idea that we can successfully explore the human condition in every sermon by looking through the vertical, horizontal, and inner lens of Jesus’ greatest commandment.
You can find complete lists of our resources related to anti-racism and multicultural ministries on these pathfinders:
connections: A Summons to Witness, Protest and Promise
As Bishop of the North Carolina Conference, I invite you to affirm this summons to witness, protest and promise. We offer this opportunity, realizing that if we were gathering in Greenville for Annual Conference, a resolution would be offered in the wake of recent violence against our Black brothers and sisters. This summons is an opportunity to publicly state your desire to build the new world God promises as heaven in time descends to earth. (Revelation 21)
With gratitude for the life we share in Christ,
Hope Morgan Ward
We United Methodists in The North Carolina Conference join our voices in witness, protest and promise in these times of violence against our Black brothers and sisters.
We believe. . .
We believe that the Holy Spirit is indeed poured out upon all people.
We believe that in baptism, we are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation, and commissioned to resist evil, injustice and oppression, in whatever forms they present themselves.
We believe that God’s intent for humanity is community, compassion, and holiness, and that justice has been marred by the history of enslavement and racism.
We believe that repentance is urgent for the historic and ongoing violence against Black girls and boys, men and women.
We believe that in the wounding of Black bodies we see Christ crucified.
We believe that those who have been steeped in white privilege, through repentance, can be transformed into humble servants of the living God.
We believe we are called to work for the day when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
We protest. . .
We protest violent murders of Black men and women, most recently Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
We protest the narratives of fear and suspicion that divide people from one another.
We protest our historic failure to ensure all our churches are places of hospitality, welcome, and belonging for our Black brothers and sisters.
We protest the historic and continuing suppression of voting and other basic rights.
We protest all incendiary public leadership in this time of crisis and turmoil.
We protest the lack of will in our communities, our state and our country to protect the lives of our Black brothers and sisters, and especially the most vulnerable, the young and the old.
We promise. . .
We promise to use our voices, resources and power to dismantle white privilege and racist systems, especially within our own United Methodist Church.
We promise to read the Scripture with ear and eye attentive to the continued call toward God’s will for all people.
We promise to exercise the right to vote and to work against voter suppression.
We promise to create around ourselves at all times hospitable space for all people.
We promise to name prejudice when we see it and to receive the correction of others who see prejudice in us.
We promise to be life-long learners, to constantly make adjustments in the way we use our power and influence, to be active participants in the building of the beloved community, and ultimately growing always in holiness toward the perfection we see in Christ.
View All Signatories