Greetings from the Desert Southwest Conference Race Coalition team! We pray thus far 2021 has been filled with signs of renewed hope, strength, and new life. In 2020 we were met with the reality of deteriorating race relations in our country. As one who was raised in the ’70s in Southern Mississippi I witnessed and experienced the ugliness of racism, thus I often dreamt of a brighter day coming. Earlier this month as we celebrated the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Dr. King was constantly teaching, urging, admonishing, and reminding Americans not only of the powerful obstacles of our histories, our institutions, and our hearts but he also called the citizens of the United States to hope, with his repetitive recanting of the words of Thomas Payne: “We have the power to begin the world over again.” Desert Southwest Conference, I pray you will believe and dream with me when I say with God’s help we indeed “have the power to begin the world again.”
January 6, the day of Epiphany, was indeed an epiphany. Epiphany is a call to light and truth. The word epiphany comes from the word reveal and gestures us to the realization of new truths. For most of us, the day of Epiphany was overshadowed by the insurgence upon our Nation’s Capital. Yet, it was indeed an epiphany that shed light on the fact that we can no longer pretend that racism is not a problem in our nation or in the United Methodist Church. We have the power to begin the world over again.
The DSC-Race Coalition worked hard this Fall to provide resources for pastors, laypersons, and congregations throughout our Annual Conference to educate and to aid you in engaging in dialogues on racism, power, and privilege. Epiphany 2021 proved that we still have so much work to do. The Race Coalition is hard at work organizing activities, resources, and events to help you continue engaging in dialogue and education. We are expanding our work to intentionally target, lift up and educate on the issues of racism facing ethnic minority groups in the Desert Southwest Conference.
For February, which is Black History Month, we will update the “21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge” and craft a Black History Month worship experience to be shared with all congregations. I am also happy to announce that we will host a Conference-wide book study on I’m Black, I’m Christian, I’m Methodist, by Rev. Dr. Rudy Rasmus. Rev. Rasmus is the Co-Pastor of St. John’s UMC a church he and his wife, the Rev. Juanita Rasmus, started with nine members in 1992 and today boosts over 9,000. I’m Black, I’m Christian, I’m Methodist explores the religious narratives and lived realities of ten Black women and men who are well-known leaders in The United Methodist Church. “They are leaders whose lives are tangible demonstrations of the power of a divine purpose and evidence of what grace really means in the face of hardship, disappointment, and determination.” The book covers topics such as:
- What Has Racism Cost the Church?
- Intersections of Race, Gender, and LGBTQIA+ Identity Ministry and Racism
I’m Black, I’m Christian, I’m Methodist book study begins on February 1 and include weekly Zoom discussions on Mondays, February 8-22 at 7:00 PM (MST). (Click here to register once for all three discussions.) The book is available for purchase at major book stores. Click on your preferred store listed below to access the purchasing portal.
Then, on Sunday, February 28 at 6:00 PM, the DSC-RACE Coalition is hosting a webinar conversation on I’m Black, I’m Christian, I’m Methodist and racism in The United Methodist Church with Rev. Dr. Rudy Rasmus, Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, and Rev. Dr. Vance Ross. (Click here to register for this webinar.)
Although the topic of racism can be overwhelming and polarizing, by the grace of God we are being provided with the opportunity to “begin the world again,” one pastor, one layperson, one staff member, or one child/youth at a time. I pray you will join the DSC Race Team in our work.
Rev. Kimberly Scott
February is Black History Month
- Expect an updated “21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge”
- Black History Month worship experience to be shared with all congregations.
- Conference-wide book study on I’m Black, I’m Christian, I’m Methodist, by Rev. Dr. Rudy Rasmus.
- Webinar on I’m Black, I’m Christian, I’m Methodist and racism in The UMC.
Coming Soon at dscumc.org/dsc-race
21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge New Resources for
- May: Asian Americans & Pacific Islander Heritage
- Sept-Oct: Hispanic Heritage
- November: Native American Heritage