During the Episcopal Address in the plenary session at this year’s Annual Conference, Bishop Bob boldly proclaimed that racism has no part in The United Methodist Church or in the life of anyone who follows Jesus. An excerpt of his message is below:
The Desert Southwest Conference (DSC) must embark on its own initiative to eradicate racism, and to dismantle white privilege. We confess that we are ourselves guilty of racism implicitly as well as explicitly. And we must not allow this moment to fade away without taking a stand and redirecting our path into the future. I call on the DSC to put this on the front burner as we seek to be a courageous church: Loving like Jesus, Acting for justice, and United in the Hope in Jesus’ call to be one body, united in our commitment to share the Good News with hope to our world.
I ask us to learn together, build relationships, speak the language of repentance and to renew our commitment to become part of the solution and not part of the problem of the divisions between people. I invite us to rejoice that God calls us to be in ministry with one another and rejoice that we are doing what Jesus calls us to do as we engage in this work together.
I ask each of us to make a commitment with me to support and participate in this important work as it is what I believe we need to do as the church at such a time as this. Additionally, I am asking you to take a courageous step to do something that I believe will speak volumes to our churches, our communities, and the world. This is what I want to invite you to do:
- Film yourself making a bold statement and post your video on Facebook along with mine and with all others who will pledge to do this. Instructions to upload a video from an iPhone can be found here.
- And I would like to invite you to join me to post your statement of commitment next Wednesday, June 17th at 12 noon.
- And if you will do so, this is what I would like all of us in our videos to say:
Hello, my name is (your name). I am a United Methodist, and a child of God. I join with United Methodists in the Desert Southwest Conference in remembering the vows I spoke when I dedicated my life to Jesus Christ when I was baptized.
I renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent for my part in supporting systems of racism and oppression.
I accept the freedom and power God gives me to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. I recognize that all persons are children of God and are created in the image of God. I pledge to continue to live my life in this covenant until all persons are treated with equality and justice prevails.
It is a simple statement. And yet, it has a profound effect of sharing your commitment and your hope and your faith in working against racism and privilege.