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'Dismantling Racism' initiative announced for United Methodist Church

United Methodist Church leaders on June 19 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 United States. 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 kick off of the church-wide effort on June 19 coincided with Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S. The announcement came from members of the United Methodist Council of Bishops. Participating 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; Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, Pittsburgh Episcopal Area; Bishop Bruce Ough, Dakotas-Minnesota; Bishop Gregory Palmer, Ohio West; and Bishop Thomas Bickerton, New York Episcopal Area.

Themes sounded throughout included "enough is enough" and "this time it must be different." A day of prayer and worship will follow on June 24 with an online service to be broadcast at 12 noon CT on UMC.org/EndRacism and Facebook. A denominational virtual town hall event is being planned for July 1 with details to be announced. 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 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.

Media contact: Diane Degnan, director, Office of Public Information, United Methodist Communications, [email protected], 615-742-5406 (o) 615-483-765 (c)