Each year the clergy gather for Covenant Day, where we renew our covenant to one another and to the local churches in the North Texas Conference. It was at our virtual Covenant Day 2020 that Bishop Michael McKee announced a new initiative in our conference, the Journey Toward Racial Justice. The resulting commission made up of clergy and laypersons was to focus their work on doing a detailed audit of our conference to see how our conference fares in terms of racial equity and inclusion.
This audit is important considering, over the years, church life still struggles to move Sunday away from what Martin Luther King, Jr., called, “the most segregated day in America.” It is true that great, but incomplete, strides have been made in America in terms of personal, conscious racism. Yet strides remain if we desire to truly integrate our church life. These strides will be best made by addressing the subconscious and systemic racism that still resides within us and our institutions. This intentional effort will aid us in better reflecting a reality we have sought earnestly to move towards. As Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Perhaps, even more important are these words than we have realized for this verse is now thought to have been an early creed of the Church.
The work that has begun with pilot groups and is ongoing has three focus areas: vital conversations, intercultural competence, and institutional equity. This is work that can help us at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church as we seek to be a local church that seeks to reflect the fullness of our local community in the name of Christ.
You can learn even by going to https://ntcumc.org/about/combating-racism, where you will find links to .pdfs, a video, and other items related to the Journey Toward Racial Justice. You may also attend a Zoom conversation on Thursday, August 26 from 6:30 to 8 pm. You can register for the conversation at https://ntcumc.org/conversation-registratio-f0rm. (yes, in the registration web address, there is no “n” in “registratio” and “f0rm” is spelled with a zero rather than an “o.”)
Grace and peace,
Rev. J.D. Allen