One of the principal priorities of leadership is to end racism and grow in cultural humility. While not everyone is of one mind about racial justice, the conference is committed to supporting the work detailed in United Methodism’s foundational documents and is providing a wide array of resources to assist with this Gospel work.
In a report from Christie Latona, the BWC’s director of Connectional Ministries, and the Rev. Stacey Cole Wilson the executive minister of beloved community, the progress made on anti-racism work, under the banner of We Rise United, was shared.
During the past year, the conference’s work to build Beloved Community has included included:
- Trained the conference staff in inclusion, diversity, equity and antiracism practices. All staff are participating in monthly check-ins to support these practices with Dushaw Hockett of the SPACES Project.
- Began testing an online interactive curriculum to support leaders in committing to and living out the Beloved Community Covenant and identifying their next faithful steps.
- Partnered with The People’s Supper to train more than 65 congregational leaders to become brave space table hosts and participate in the first Mapping a Pathway to Racial Justice conference-wide series.
- Developed a curriculum, A Diverse Church by Design, for cross-racial/cross-cultural appointments and churches who need to better connect with their communities.
- Conducted 134 Intercultural Development Inventory debriefs with personalized Intercultural Development Plans to help persons develop a strategy for taking their next faithful developmental step towards cultural humility. This brings our total to about 300 IDI debriefs since we began this work in April 2019. This includes staff, members of BOOM, chairs of conference boards and committees and other leaders.
- Published 25 news and feature stories, nine viewpoint pieces, and 149 articles, conversations and encouragements about Beloved Community and making inclusive, diverse, equitable antiracist choices.
- Added questions to the church profile form for congregations to report on where the congregation is on the path toward racial justice. From these results, it is estimated that 83 percent of Baltimore-Washington Conference Churches are on a pathway to becoming racial justice change agents.
“We know this is a journey of a lifetime and that each choice we make,” Latona said. “Each action we take or don’t take -- either makes us an agent of God’s liberating love or not.”
Learn more at bwcumc.org/justicenow.