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United Methodists unveil ‘dismantling racism’ initiative

United Methodists unveil ‘dismantling racism’ initiative

NASHVILLE—United Methodist Church leaders launched a plan of action to galvanize church members and others to actively stand against racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd and protests across the U.S.

The “Dismantling Racism: Pressing on to Freedom” initiative is a multi-level effort throughout the church to initiate a sustained and coordinated effort to dismantle racism and promote collective action to work toward racial justice. The church-wide effort kicked off June 19 to coincide with Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S.

Participating in the event were Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Episcopal Area, president of the Council of Bishops and the first Hispanic woman to hold that post, as well as Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi of the Pittsburgh Episcopal Area, Bishop Bruce Ough of the Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area, Bishop Gregory Palmer of the Ohio West Episcopal Area and Bishop Thomas Bickerton of the New York Episcopal Area.

“Words are great, words are important—but action is really important,” said Bishop Harvey. “Pick up your pen, pick up your voice, pick up your feet and do something.”

A day of prayer and worship followed June 24, with an online service. There will also be a denominational virtual town hall event July 1.

Regional and local worship events and town hall meetings involving community partners will subsequently take place, either online or in keeping with social distancing protocols.

United Methodist Communications has launched a national advertising campaign on social media and news websites across the U.S., as well as digital billboards in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Houston and Louisville. The ads direct viewers to a website, UMC.org/EndRacism, where they can find resources to help them learn more and take action.

The United Methodist Council of Bishops has asked all United Methodists to join in prayer at 8:46 a.m. and p.m. for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the time the officer held his knee on George Floyd’s neck, for at least the next 30 days.

Advocacy and worship resources will seek to equip leaders, members and the public to join in this important racial relations work. To encourage wide participation, a variety of materials will be made available in English, Korean, Spanish, French and Portuguese translations.

The denomination has a long-standing history of advocating for justice. The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church recognize racism as a sin and commit to challenging unjust systems of power and access.

Additional information and resources are available online at UMC.org/EndRacism.

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