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 JusticeBuilding Bridges of Understanding
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.
Recommended ResourcesThese 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