“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
– Benjamin Franklin
In recent weeks we’ve witnessed murder, injustice, protest and outrage throughout our country. While battling a deadly coronavirus that can attack anyone, we are fighting the malignant infection of racism and white privilege that also disproportionally assaults our brothers and sisters of color.
In their recent Pentecost Sunday sermons, Senior Pastors at our ARJ partner churches, Dr. Emanuel Cleaver III and Adam Hamilton, shared their perspectives.
Pastor Cleaver counseled us to be still and hear God speak. Just as the disciples waited in fear in the upper room, we may also be at that “in between” time before receiving the gifts God has in store for us. “God will break in and end one thing and start something entirely new”, he said. After receiving the Holy Spirit, there was no more hiding away. The disciples were no longer afraid. They were equipped to tell Christ’s story and speak to people who were different than them. Pastor Cleaver says, “We are equipped to do the same. We must have open dialogue with others who are different from us.”
Pastor Adam reflected that while we are all made in God’s image, the problems we are facing are found within us. We carry biases and pre-judgements about everyone and everything – socio-economic status, political parties, religious affiliations, occupations, race. No one wants to think of being prejudiced. Yet our biases influence how we interpret everything. In a reference to Proverbs, Adam encourages us to speak out on behalf of the voiceless and vulnerable; “Feel their anger and pain. Push back the evil. Be courageous. Ask to be filled by the Holy Spirit with Holy Boldness. Be champions of love.”
The Allies for Racial Justice Commitment
In 2016, when the headlines decried officer-involved killings of African Americans and the shooting of five police officers in Dallas, Allies for Racial Justice was born. The senior pastors of the Kansas City area’s largest predominately white United Methodist church (Church of the Resurrection) and largest predominately black United Methodist church (St. James UMC) became determined to transform our congregations and our city to look more like the places envisioned by Jesus. Places where all brothers and sisters in Christ empathize and care for one another – a transformation that begins with truly understanding, carefully listening and knowing each other.
Since then, Allies for Racial Justice has provided educational events and learning opportunities to help people face the history and impact of racism and develop meaningful relationships between members of our two congregations. Through seminars, workshops, small groups and keynote events, we provide the opportunity to build rapport and friendship with someone who may be different from you. The work of equity and justice can only be done through ongoing learning and fellowship with others if we are to become true allies.
During this time of Covid-19, our large speaker events, group dinners and social activities have been put on hold. We are relying on Zoom and other technologies to stay in touch. If you are new to our group, welcome. Please check out our website and Facebook page to explore what we have available. If you have been involved and want to go deeper, please consider starting a small group using the many resources we provide. We will be happy to talk with you about which might be appropriate for your needs.
Yours in Christ,
Anita Maltbia – ARJ Lay Leader, St. James UMC
Kay McCarthy – ARJ Lay Leader, Church of the Resurrection
COVID-19 & You:
Insights from Local Medical Specialists
Free Webinar Event | Tuesday, June 16th | 7:00-8:30pm
Join ARJ Tuesday evening, June 16 from 7:00-8:30 PM, for a thoughtful discussion with area medical professionals discussing how Covid-19 is impacting the health of patients within their areas of specialization.
During the 90-minute webinar, you’ll be able to submit questions electronically to the panelists. Pastors Emanuel Cleaver III, St. James UMC and Adam Hamilton, Church of the Resurrection, will provide introductory remarks. Dr. Nicole D. Price, CEO of Lively Paradox, will moderate.
Panel includes Dr. Rex Archer, Director of Health for Kansas City, MO; emergency medicine physician Dr. David P. Lisbon; neonatal-perinatal specialist Dr. Tiffany B. Simpson; and respiratory specialist Dr. Steven W. Stites. ARJ Lay Leaders Anita Maltbia and Kay McCarthy will also appear.
Register below to attend the webinar. The replay will be posted on the ARJ website after June 16th.
Pre-Existing Disparities Revealed
National UMC Webcasts | Thursdays – June 4, 11 & 28
Church & Society of the United Methodist Church provides seminars on national and international affairs to awaken our desire for justice and peace from a perspective of faith.
They have recently taken their signature program virtual. The current series, “Pre-existing Disparities Revealed”, continues through June and explores how the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed societal injustices that already existed.
Hear from experts and learn how to take action for long-lasting change. Programs are free, open to all, and scheduled on Thursdays at 1:00 PM CDT. Learn more about the series and register here.
All webinars in the series will be archived and available on Church and Society’s YouTube channel.
Our Partner Church Activities During COVID-19 Outbreak
St. James UMC
Pastor Cleaver invites you to connect with the St. James congregation during the Coronavirus outbreak. Click here to learn more about streaming sermons and connecting throughout the week, including Wednesdays for the morning Pray Woke call and evening Bible study on Facebook.
Church of the Resurrection
Church of the Resurrection takes the health and well-being of our congregation, staff and community very seriously. Click here to learn more about how Resurrection is responding to the outbreak, and how you can connect online for worship, Wednesday night classes, activities for families, students and more.
A Statement from Lonnie G. Bunch III
Secretary and Founding Director of African American History and Culture
|Like many Americans, watching multiple incidents of deadly violence against black people unfold before our eyes has left us feeling demoralized and distraught, aghast, and angry. Not only have we been forced to grapple with the impact of a global pandemic, we have been forced to confront the reality that, despite gains made in the past fifty years, we are still a nation riven by inequality and racial division. The state of our democracy feels fragile and precarious…Read the full statement|
The League of Women Voters Responds to the Killing of George Floyd
We acknowledge, painfully, that America is a nation founded on racism. Therefore, all who live in this country must contribute to and participate in organizations actively working to achieve full liberation and inclusive freedom. We must all advocate for anti-racist policies at every level of government.
We echo our partners at the NAACP: we must all vote in November – the road to change lies at the ballot box...Read the full statement
Community Events & Activities
Streaming Music Series Live from the Gem Theater
Through July 3rd
“Soothing music, especially Jazz, is a euphoric anecdote for the panic of the pandemic”- Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II
The Jazz District Renaissance Corporation presents Jazzy Jamdemic, live from the Gem Theater in the Historic 18th & Vine District. Bringing the “Kansas City Sound” to your home are performers Bobby Watson, Ida McBeth, Lisa Henry, Will Matthews, Joe Cartright and many others. Jazzy Jamdemic is a programming adjustment to the American Jazz Walk of Fame Concert and Induction Ceremony and provides much-needed employment for local Kansas City musicians during this pandemic.
Performances will be available on Facebook on Sundays and weekdays, Monday thru Friday, from 5:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Musicians will perform live from the stage of the Gem Theater.
Visit americanjazzwalkoffame.org or facebook.com/americanjazzwalkoffame.