Moment for Mission
“Little children…let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth. This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts in God’s presence.” —1 John 3:18a-19, CEB
In 2020, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry began #ColortheConversation, a discussion and listening campaign to address racism in higher education and ministry. The goal is to elevate and center the voices and experiences of people of color at GBHEM and affiliated institutions.
#ColortheConversation kicked off with a video from the Rev. Kevin Kosh Jr., Wesley Foundation director and campus pastor at Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi. He discussed the vote to change the Mississippi state flag and what it means to preach and practice faith in a state and country scarred by violent racism.
“How did I feel when the flag came tumbling down?” asked Kosh. “I, like many others, celebrated. But I also knew that there are people whom I work with, whom I worship with, whom I conference with—who I even may call brother and sister—who don’t share in that same joy. I found myself asking the question, ‘Is this just symbolic? Or is the work of restorative justice something that we’re going to commit to?’”
While the first #ColortheConversation video focused intentionally on Black voices, the goal is to continue the conversation and expand the call for responses to all United Methodist leaders of color and from marginalized communities. The campaign provides a safe space for people to share experiences, offer criticism and discuss ideas.
United Methodists support the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry through the World Service Fund.
Loving God, indeed, actions speak louder than words. May we love, not with words or speech, but, rather, with action and truth. Teach us to respect all people. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Listen to My Voice — Ever-present God who speaks in thunder and earthquakes and in the softest whisper: we long to hear your voice over all the noise of the world this day. In a world so divided and polarized, we need to hear not only the voice of the Shepherd but the cries of other sheep who are being marginalized, forgotten, and abandoned. May the gifts we offer today be our response to hearing the one who speaks in the language of love and compassion. In his holy name, Amen. (John 10:11-18)
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) recognizes that it has no authoritative voice in prescribing what people of color feel and experience. Its #ColortheConversation campaign is simply an opportunity for the agency and its affiliates to listen actively, acknowledge its role in furthering systems of privilege and work intentionally toward a better future together.
Supported by the World Service Fund, GBHEM embraces the ministry of learning and leadership formation in The United Methodist Church and Wesleyan tradition. The agency serves Christians around the world who are shaped by a process of intellectual engagement, spiritual and character formation and leadership development. GBHEM cultivates a dynamic culture of call and vocational discernment that encourages lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in God’s ministry and mission for the church, the academy and the world.
United Methodists support the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry through the World Service Fund. Thank you!
Adapted from “#ColortheConversation Campaign Makes Space for Dialogue,” Aug. 20, 2020, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry website