Allies for Racial Justice | Connect, Unite, Restore

Serving as a catalyst to eradicate the existing racial divide in our communities and churches.

The Kansas City community was developed and shaped in ways that segregated us, God’s people. These ways were inconsistent with anything followers of Christ should support. Sadly, this is true of the history of Methodism in our country as well. Because our community, and earlier versions of our denomination, were intentionally designed in ways inconsistent with Christ’s teachings, we as the Church must be intentional about redesigning it. We must begin in our segregated churches by building trusted relationships and friendships.
This process begins with conversations and listening to one another’s stories and histories. It is only when we begin to know each other that change can occur at the deepest levels – within our hearts. We must learn to empathize with the histories of our Christian brothers and sisters and to stand up with them for what is right.
We must work to put aside fears, biases, and prejudices that have come from our separation. These changes will not happen overnight. We are called to intentionally engage with one another and move out of our comfort zones to love each other, as Jesus commands, as we love ourselves.
Join the Allies for Racial Justice, a team comprised of St. James and Church of the Resurrection congregants, to connect, unite and restore our churches and our city – one intentional, courageous and loving act at a time. We are to be salt and light to the world and that begins with one handshake, one conversation and a willingness to communicate. Take those steps with us.

About Allies for Racial Justice

Building Bridges of Understanding
This ministry is a partnership of…
St. James United Methodist Church United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
In the summer of 2016, the news was filled with officer-involved shootings of African Americans, along with the shootings of five police officers in Dallas, Texas. Tensions between the black community and the officers commissioned to protect them escalated. These conflicts were not new, and secular approaches had done little to resolve the systemic issues leading to these situations. There seemed to be no resolution in sight.
The senior pastors of Church of the Resurrection and St. James United Methodist became determined to transform our congregations and our city into the place envisioned by Jesus, a place where all brothers and sisters in Christ care for and empathize with one another – a transformation that begins with understanding and listening to each other. We held a community forum at St. James on August 30, 2016, to discuss the racial history and current state of racial relations in Kansas City.
That forum was a first step, beginning the hard work of building bridges of understanding. As a follow-up, we formed the Allies for Racial Justice team. This team is comprised of members representing each congregation and is working toward implementing a vision of a city that will someday better reflect the kingdom of God.
Members from St. James United Methodist and The Church of the Resurrection plan events together like cookouts and football watch parties to break bread together and share fun times, build relationships, and talk about moving forward to reflect the Kingdom of God in the world.

Recommended Resources

These videos and books are excellent guides to having conversations about racial reconciliation.


Rev. Adam Hamilton's Sermon: Stand Together

"Race: The Power of an Illusion" (excerpt)

"Our Divided City"

"Building the Troost Wall: Structural Racism in Kansas City"

"Elements that Hinder and Help Fruitful Dialogue on Issues of Race", Rev. David Anderson Hooker

"Vital Conversations" with Dr. Robin DiAngelo

TEDtalks 2012: Bryan Stevenson, "We Need to Talk about Injustice"

Racial Reconciliation Conference 2017: Daniel Hill

Upcoming Events and Activities

Buy Tickets Now!

 (All available tickets for members of COR have been sold at this time – check back frequently for information on additional availability. If you have purchased tickets and are unable to attend, please let us know so we can offer your tickets to others by emailing Karie Kneller:

2nd Annual Salute to the Negro League Day at the K.

Hosted by the Allies for Racial Justice, this is a time for fun, fellowship, and BASEBALL! 

Kansas City Royals v. Detroit Tigers 

May 6th @ 1:15PM with pre-game tailgate at 11:30AM

Tickets are $18 eachClick Here to Purchase!



Grow Night Series: Unpacking the Story of Race

Register Here for the September Series (October registration coming soon)

Members of the Allies for Racial Justice Team – a partnership between St. James UMC and COR – will lead a series intended to help you grow in your faith as you begin to understand how to help bridge the racial divide in our city and our churches. Beginning this September, the series will be repeated in October on the 16th, 23rd, and 30th.

September 11/October 16: That’s in the Past, What Does it Have to do with Me?

Many people believe we live in a post-racial society, yet there is still undeniable racial strife, tension and separation. In this session, we will look at our own personal histories, the history of Kansas City and the history of the Methodist Church as each relate to race. Join us for a short, engaging documentary, interactive exercises and open dialogue to help examine what role race plays in our lives and our relationship with Jesus.

September 18/October 23: Implicit Bias – What We Don’t Think We Think

As each of us experiences life, we are surrounded by a number of biases. Some of these we consciously accept, some we consciously reject, while many more fall into the subconscious. Even though we are not aware of implicit biases, they constantly work in us, helping form our beliefs, values, ideas, and actions every day. 

As followers of Jesus, we are created and called by God to consistently question beliefs, values, and motives by taking an intentional look at implicit biases that are corrupted by stereotype or prejudice, separating us from the Beloved Community (from GCORR website).

September 25/October 30: What’s Love Got to Do with It? Whose Culture?

Do you ever struggle understanding how the culture of the day fits with what you know about Jesus? Jesus consistently turned the culture of the day upside down. This session will take a look at today’s dominant culture and provide practical suggestions to help understand what it would be like to not be part of the dominant culture, with suggestions for ways to be allies to those in the minority culture, as is consistent with being followers of Jesus Christ.

Fall Cookout

Registration is now open! Click Here

Sunday, October 7, 2018 from 1-4 PM

Roe Park shelter area @ 104th and Roe Avenue, Overland Park, KS

Traditional cookout fare of hot dogs, hamburgers, pop and water will be provided. Please register to bring chips, dessert or a side dish to share, and enjoy a fun afternoon of fellowship and children’s games.

Speaker: Debbie Irving

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018 from 7:00-8:30pm in the Foundry (Building B) at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood KS

Debby Irving, author of “Waking up White” will speak at Grow Night, shares her personal journey of what it is to be white in a culture that thinks race is about being black. Her book is available for purchase in the Well Bookstore at the Church of the Resurrection. Invite your small group, friends, neighbors or co-workers for this important message.

Creating Change in a Fractured World

Satuday, January 13, 2018, 6:30 pm

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, enjoy uplifiting music, and hear from community leaders including Emanuel Cleaver III, Shanna Steitz and Adam Hamilton, along with Dr. Theresa Torres, Associate Professor of Latina/Latino Studies at UMKC, for a panel discussion and Q&A. This forum is sponsored The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. State Celebration, Commission of Missouri.

Due to limited parking space at St. James UMC, Church of the Resurrection members are strongly encouraged to use the free bus transportation to and from the forum. Your registration here will allow us to reserve the correct number of buses.


“Seven Days:

Make a Ripple, Change the World”

April 11th

Join us on Wednesday, April 11th for a metro-wide community dinner! Come with your family and friends to enjoy dinner with engaging activities. 

St. James United Methodist Church, 5540 Wayne Avenue, Kansas City, MO

Doors open at 5:30PM, event concludes by 8:30PM 

Catering provided by Central Exchange: pasta bar and vegetarian options

April 16th

Join us on Wednesday, April 16th as we walk together as one community, overcoming evil with love and kindness at the “Faith, Love, and Walk” event.

National World War I Museum and Memorial

5:30PM Pre-Walk, 6:30PM Walk, 7:30PM Food Truck Party

visit for more information about “Seven Days” events in April


Photo by Herman Hiller / New York World-Telegram & Sun [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Strength to Love Challenge

January through April 2018 – visit the Allies for Racial Justice Facebook page for updates and posts from folks reading Dr. King’s sermons in “Strength to Love”!

2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s Assassination. Congregants from St. James UMC and Church of the Resurrection can continue to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy by taking part in the Strength to Love Challenge, which is based on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s powerful book of sermons. We designed this challenge to require a minimal time commitment (once a month from January to April), but hope it will lead to ongoing and meaningful connections. There are four different options to participate and connect with people from the church you don’t attend.

  • Monthly Small Group Study of select sermons from Dr. King’s book, “Strength to Love” made up of 1/2 St. James and 1/2 COR members (8-10 people/group 4 meetings January -April)
Click for Details

This is a commitment of 4, 2-hour meetings with a mixed group of 8-10 St. James and COR participants.  You will meet once a month between January and April. Group members will determine meeting dates and times.

Your Commitment:

  • Make every effort to attend all 4 meetings.
  • Read the assigned sermon from Strength to Love for each meeting and be prepared to discuss (each sermon is between 10-12 pages)
  • Take turns either hosting the group in your home or arranging a place to meet.
  • As a group you will determine your meeting schedule.

ARJ Team will provide:

    • Names and contact information for each group based on registrations received.
    • A covenant for discussion and general guidelines for small groups.
    • Discussion questions for each of the 4 sermons.
    • Coordination and general follow up with your small group.
    • Make Book Strength to Love available for purchase.


  • “Table of 8ish”  Monthly Dinners with group made up of 1/2 St. James and 1/2 COR members; 4 dinners from January through April
Click for Details

This is a commitment of 4 monthly dinners or lunches made up of St. James and COR members 8-10 people/group. You will meet once a month between January and April (dates determined by group members)

Your Commitment:

  • Make every effort to attend all 4 meals.
  • Take turns picking the place to meet
  • Group members will decide meal date and time

ARJ Team will provide:

  • Names and contact information for each group based on registrations received
  • A covenant for discussion and general guidelines for small groups
  • Discussion Starters based on principles in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s book, Strength to Love
  • Coordination and general follow up with your table of 8ish


  • Church Swap – Spend two weeks worshipping at and being hosted by St. James members if you typically go to COR, then spend two weeks worshipping at and being hosted by COR members if you go to St. James
Click for Details

Your Commitment

4 weeks of consecutive worship with paired partners from either St. James or COR

  • Worship and fellowship at the church you do not belong to for 2 weeks (ideally in a row); and
  • Host members of the church you do not attend for 2 weeks
  • This is a total commitment of 4 weeks, coupling with individuals from the church you typically do not attend

ARJ Team will provide:

  • Names and contact information of people paired up based on registrations
  • Maps and information regarding worship services, attire etc.


  • Read a sermon a week from Dr. King’s book, “Strength to Love”

We ask that you go on our Facebook page and post things that inspire you as you read each week.  Look to make connections with people you find similarly inspired and tell us about it at our Storytelling Event in April!

Click for Details

Join the Allies for Racial Justice Facebook page:


Stand Together KC Community Forum

Local religious leaders of various faiths came together to discuss how we can build bridges between our communities in the Kansas City area. Watch the recording of the Stand Together KC Forum with Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III, Rabbi Arthur Nemitoff, and Rev. Adam Hamilton (October 1, 2017).

Chiefs Watch Party @ Grand St. Cafe

October 15, 2:30-6:30 pm
Grand St. Cafe
Kansas City MO

Enjoy fellowship, heavy appetizers, and the game on the big screen. Former Chiefs wide receiver Kevin Lockett (Tyler Lockett’s dad) will be here watching the game with us. Come out and cheer on the Chiefs!