We Rise United Report
We Rise United Journal Report 2022
The Baltimore-Washington Conference seeks to end racism in all of its forms so that all might be free – liberated from oppression and inequities that prevent abundant life. Through committing to be a church that is ever growing in its intercultural competence and embodying antiracism, this 7-year initiative launches us into a life cycle of antiracism work that both seeks to address the intent of the NEJ Call to Action and increase our capacity to build beloved community so that we can see all the people, deepen discipleship, live and love like Jesus, and multiply our impact.
Our five goals along with their progress markers are:
Goal 1. Increase by 10% per year the number of churches who are on a pathway to becoming an antiracist church so that by 2022 all of our BWC churches are on a path toward becoming racial justice change agents. The following deliverable is required to achieve Goal 1:
Progress: At last year’s annual conference, we celebrated 80% of churches who reported being on the pathway toward becoming racial justice change agents. We haven’t moved the needle significantly yet and invite church leaders to connect with us as we are strategically engaging persons in this work.
Goal 2. Each local church reports on its progress as related to the Call to Action (CTA) on Racial Justice and on its internal and external conversations annually at church/charge conference with 10% more churches engaged than the year before so that by 2026 100% of our churches are doing work to grow in their Inter-Cultural Competency (ICC) (traits of beloved community) throughout the conference. The following deliverable is required to achieve Goal 2:
Progress: (Please see the Discipleship Report), We’ve accomplished the first half of this goal and are inviting congregations not on a pathway toward racial justice do the work to grow in six actions of Beloved Community. These six actions are:
- Seek relationships because this is how Jesus lived (with an understanding that we are interrelated and interconnected people).
- Examine my own assumptions and perceptions so that I might avoid projecting my cultural values onto others.
- Listen for understanding because agreement is optional.
- Respect different forms of expression understanding that I may not really know what is going on.
- Assume positive intent as we are all moving onto perfection.
- Exercise cultural humility understanding that the world in which I was born is just one model of reality.
Goal 3. Using a validated assessment, we consistently onboard and develop DSs, staff, conference leaders and clergy consistently so that by 2022 all staff and by 2024 all active clergy leaders are working on growing a Gospel-centered, multicultural heart-set, mindset and skill-set.
Progress: As reported last year, we have strengthened the accountability structure so that residents-in-ministry, the Board of Ordained Ministry, District Committees on Ordained Ministry, DSs and staff are resourced to grow in their ability to embody inclusion, diversity, equity and antiracism.
Goal 4. By Spring 2022, each cross-racial/cross-cultural (CR/CC) appointment is equipped to engage in cross-cultural work from appointment through the first year with experienced guides so that both pastor and congregational leaders set goals and grow in ICC covenant (traits of beloved community).
Progress: In addition to orientation for all new CRCC appointments, the 2022 class of a Diverse Church by Design started with over thirty congregations represented. The deadline to apply for the next cohort will be shared at the required CRCC orientation.
Goal 5. Our institutional practices are just and inclusive regarding race/ethnicity, gender, ability, and other elements of diversity so that we see the six actions of Beloved Community Covenant practiced throughout the conference.
- Ongoing efforts to examine pay equity and policy and procedures across our Annual Conference–including BOOM’s Gender and Equity
- We are in the process of identifying and reviewing BWC policies and practices to ensure that they embody our principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and antiracism.
- An Asian American Pacific Islander $10,000 Grant from the General Board of Global Ministries designated to dismantle racism specific to those communities through public witness, education, outreach and action.
- BWC Church and Community Equity Grants for persons disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. $36,000 was distributed to congregations in 7 of the 8 Districts.
- Human Relations Day Grant in the amount of $10,000 to continue building beloved community
Additionally, we give thanks for:
- A Second People’s Supper: Brave Conversations About Racial Justice. This will launch in June and other brave conversation suppers are happening even now across our conference in local churches. Registration deadline for the conference-wide Brave Conversations is June 15.
- Congregations that are embodying and multiplying this work in and beyond their local communities with faithfulness, empathy, compassion and great resolve.
Rev. Dr. Stacey Cole Wilson, Executive Minister of Beloved Community
As was reported at the 2020 Annual Conference Session, under the leadership of Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling, our collaborative work to end racism and to grow in cultural humility was accelerated and expanded. We recognize that not all churches, communities, and individuals are of one mind regarding racial justice. And, we support our United Methodist’s constitution's Articles IV and V that call us to do this Gospel work.
From July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021, we have:
- Trained all conference staff (including District Superintendents) 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.
- Incorporated the Intercultural Competency toward Beloved Community Covenant into staff expectations.
- Seeking relationship, because this is how Jesus lived.
- Examining my own assumptions and perceptions so that I might avoid projecting my cultural values onto others.
- Listening for understanding because agreement is optional.
- Respecting different forms of expression, understanding that I may not really know what is going on.
- Assuming positive intent as we are all moving onto perfection.
- Exercising cultural humility, understanding that the world into which I was born is just one model of reality.
- Began testing an online interactive curriculum to support leaders -- staff, lay, clergy, church -- in committing to and living out the Beloved Community Covenant and identifying their next faithful steps.
- We’ve partnered with The People’s Supper to train over 65 congregational leaders to become brave space table hosts and participate in the first Mapping a Pathway to Racial Justice conference-wide series. This intensive training spanned over the course of five months; and, we are working with interested persons to replicate these transformational conversations in their local contexts.
- Introduced the importance and core principles of building the beloved community at each transition workshop for congregations receiving a new pastor.
- In partnership with Rev. Dr. HiRho Park, we’ve 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.
- Through Communications, we’ve published 25 news and feature stories, 9 viewpoint pieces, and 149 articles, conversations and encouragements about Beloved Community and making inclusive, diverse, equitable antiracist choices.
- With the Discipleship Council and Cabinet, we’ve added questions to the Church Profile form for congregations to report on where the congregation is on the path toward racial justice. 556 churches completed the form and 498 answered this question. From these results we estimate that 83% of Baltimore-Washington Conference Churches are on a pathway to becoming racial justice change agents. This includes churches who are at various levels of living out their Commitment to Becoming an Antiracist Church.
- With the Racial Justice Team, we’ve developed collaborative workgroups to support leaders and congregations who need support with: getting started, getting churches on board, and/or legislative action. Additionally, we are making resources available to support laity and clergy to have brave conversations needed for fruitful ministry.
- With congregational leaders, we offered various forms of public witness against racially-motivated acts of violence upon people and property including church-community vandalism.
We know this is a journey of a lifetime and that each choice we make -- each action we take or don’t take -- either makes us an agent of God’s liberating love or not.