Member Church News: Black Lives Matter

A small but committed United Church of Christ congregation in Decorah, Iowa, is initiating a community-wide project to combat racism, using the denomination’s recently-released adult curriculum on white privilege to facilitate the conversation.

A consistent commitment to sacred conversations on race, a congregational affirmation to find opportunities to learn more about the impact of racism and white privilege and a ministry team whose goal is to create the space and the curriculum to make that happen are three good reasons why Old First Reformed UCC, in Philadelphia, has been selected for the “Reject Racism” award in the UCC’s monthly “Be the Church” contest.

Tom DeVries, general secretary of the Reformed Church in America, has invited RCA members to join in the Race Card Project which challenges participants to distill their thoughts, experiences or observations on race into one sentence with only six words. Tom’s are: “Live. Love. Like Jesus. = No Racism.”

African American leadership from Presbyterian Church (USA) churches across the country gathered to kick off the first African American Consultation at the historic Children’s Defense Fund Alex Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee.

The current issue of the PC(USA)’s Racial Ethnic Torch features the work that the denomination’s Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries, and the church as a whole, is doing to overcome racism.

In the wake of yet another white police officer shooting an unarmed black man, J. Herbert Nelson II, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA), stated in an open letter, “The church must become agents of change in this militarized culture of policing. …We must make a commitment to removing the vestiges of racial profiling, racism, and demonization.”

Concerned about recent events involving the death of black men killed by police in the U.S. and the killing of an Indigenous man in Canada, the Christian Reformed Church, through its Office of Race Relations together with other agencies and offices, has released a statement on the need for racial reconciliation.

The healing & reconciliation ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Canada works ecumenically, with local leaders, congregations and courts of the church to build and strengthen bridges of understanding and friendship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

For more than thirty years, the United Church of Canada and Indigenous peoples have been on a journey towards mutuality, respect and equity.

Roderick Hewitt, a member of the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands and associate professor of theology at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, has written an open letter to British Prime Minister Therea May about the UK government’s decision to forcibly remove 50 people to Jamaica.

This week’s post was inspired by a WCRC Racial Justice Solidarity Visit held in Cleveland, Ohio, on 5 October 2016. Those present heard both an historical and theological overview of racial injustice and specific reports about how member churches are engaging to end racism both within their churches and the nation. The group also took up the Belhar Confession, heard about the struggles of overcoming a dominant culture to combat racial injustice and framed the issue in the global context.

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