Journey Toward Racial Justice Pilot Groups To Begin In January
The initial group will use a guide that was produced by the coordinating JTRJ team and members of the NTC staff
As United Methodists, we are bound together through rich history and tradition with our siblings in Christ across the country and the world. One of those meaningful threads woven through our congregations is the sacrament of baptism. Each of us hold powerful, beautiful memories tied to these moments, when we acknowledge God’s grace that moves before us, abides with us and pulls us forward. Whether it is a family bringing their child or an adult professing his/her faith, the liturgy spoken by pastors and congregations across our United Methodist churches calls for a rejection of sin and commitment to Christ. During these sacred times, we remember who we are called to be: true disciples who walk in the way that leads to life.
For many years, and in many forms, the North Texas Conference has acknowledged that, in order to nurture and form true disciples, the sin of racism must be confronted in ourselves and our congregations. At Annual Conference 2020, the Journey Toward Racial Justice coordinating team introduced its vision for this discipleship imperative, including a congregational guide for exploring and implementing racial justice initiatives in local congregations. This process is meant to support contextual, community-based action in the local church by providing a framework for resourcing and conversations.
It moves from building a team and understanding your congregation’s starting point into intentional, impactful learning opportunities and culminates in developing a plan for how a church will enact the work of racial justice that makes sense for each congregation in its own community. In a sense, the Congregational Journey Toward Racial Justice guide offers a route to the end of the beginning, acknowledging that a strong foundation is needed to start the true work of addressing injustice, which extends past any one group’s strategy or tenure.
Many North Texas Conference congregations are already taking steps toward understanding their roles in systems of inequality and working to confront injustices in their spheres of influence. Some of those groups will join the Congregational Journey Toward Racial Justice pilot group starting in January, helping us to learn and adjust this process before being offered to all of our churches after Annual Conference 2021.
As Bishop McKee reminded us at the beginning of the year, “My vision is for the North Texas Conference to become a beacon of light that chases away the shadows of racism lurking in our communities.” As we continue toward that light of God’s hope for the world, may we be in prayer for one another that we might have the strength and witness to live into who we are all called to be at our baptisms, those who bravely proclaim the good news and live according to the example of Christ.
Published: Wednesday, October 14, 2020