"Pride, Shame and Pain: Methodist History with Racism and Efforts to Dismantle It"
"Heritage Sunday shall be observed on Aldersgate Day (May 24), or the Sunday preceding that date. The day provides an opportunity for reflection on heritage, celebration of where the Church has been, how it understands itself as it shapes us today, and the meaning of Christian conferencing. Heritage Sunday calls the Church to remember the past by committing itself to the continuing call of God."
from 264.1, The Book of Discipline
On June 19, 2020, United Methodist bishops launched a campaign to Dismantle Racism. They called for all levels of the church to be engaged in this effort. Therefore, the theme for Heritage Sunday 2021 is "Pride, Shame and Pain: Methodist History with Racism and Efforts to Dismantle It." Like all of Methodist history, Methodists have been on all sides when it comes to dismantling and sustaining racism. Methodists have been staunch supporters of #BlackLivesMatter, Civil Rights, and abolition. They've also been founders of the KuKluxKlan, builders of the Central Jurisdiction, and owners of enslaved persons. Part of the work of dismantling racism necessitates an honest appraisal of one’s past with special attention given to one’s overt and covert racist actions. In 2021, we must examine the institutionalization of racism within our own ranks and the ways that sins from our past still linger among us. We also honor and celebrate the ways that Methodists have worked to dismantle systemic racism in the United States and around the globe.
The United Methodist Church is in the process of trying to figure out its future. But we cannot fully understand the most equitable move(s) forward without an honest examination of how we got here. This Heritage Sunday we’ll examine together how our current structure was established, why the cross and flame became our logo, the role we played dismantling and sustaining racism outside of the denomination, and the efforts from within the challenge our own systems that be. Join us on this journey through Pride, Shame, and Pain.
Stay tuned to this page for resources. They'll be released as they become available.Racism logo (above) borrowed from the General Commission on Religion and Race. Kelly Fitzgerald, ed. Racism: The Church’s Unfinished Agenda, a Journal of the National Convocation on Racism (General Commission on Religion and Race, 1987). Originally published by the General Commission on Archives and History. Republished with permission by ResourceUMC.org.