UMC Response to Systemic Racism

What Does the United Methodist Church Say About Racism?

Upcoming Day of Prayer and Worship
A day of prayer and worship will follow on June 24, 2020, with an online service to be broadcast at noon CT on and Facebook. There will also be a denominational virtual town hall event on July 1. Regional and local worship events and town hall meetings involving community partners will subsequently take place, either online or in keeping with social distancing protocols.

United Methodists Set to Unveil "Dismantling Racism" Initiative (June 18, 2020)
United Methodist Church leaders will launch a plan of action to galvanize church members and others to actively stand against racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd and protests across the U.S. The “Dismantling Racism: Pressing on to Freedom” initiative is a multi-level effort throughout the church to initiate a sustained and coordinated effort to dismantle racism and promote collective action to work toward racial justice. 

The church-wide effort will kick off on June 19, 2020 to coincide with Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S. An announcement from members of the United Methodist Council of Bishops will be broadcast at 11:00 am CT on and Facebook.



A Pastoral Letter from the Northeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church
The Bishops of the Northeastern Jurisdiction have been in deep conversation, prayer, and mutual strategy in
recent days regarding the deep and intentional ways that each of us can and should be responding to the depth
of systemic racism that has been revealed in the murder of George Floyd. The resulting Pastoral Letter offers a thoughtful assessment on addressing the evil of racism from a faith perspective.

Council of Bishops Statement on the Scourge of Racism
The Council of Bishops' Statement on the Scourge of Racism asks "every United Methodist to reclaim their baptismal vows to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves." The COB is also asking United Methodists to read about antiracism and speak with children, youth and adults about the subject and join in prayer for at least 30 days at 8:46 a.m. and 8:46 p.m. for 8:46 minutes, the length of time a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on the neck of George Floyd, killing the 46-year-old African American.

COB Supports Minnesota Area Bishop in Call for Christians to Fight Pandemic of Racism Bishop
Bruce Ough, resident bishop of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area (which covers the city of Minneapolis) provides a profound and prophetic word on the death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers. The Council of Bishops supports and embraces Bishop Ough’s response and invites all United Methodists everywhere to address the pervasive pandemic of racism acknowledging that racism is a sin and antithetical to the gospel.

United Methodist Stand Against Racism Campaign and Resources for UMC Churches
Local churches are encouraged use/ adapt the materials created by UMCommunications for its ongoing "End Racism" campaign. The campaign includes a national ad buy that will appear on select news networks across the country; national websites; and social media. Digital billboards in Minneapolis, Louisville, Atlanta and Houston went live during the second week of June. You can use the link above to access a range of branded materials including banners, posters, videos, social media graphics and more.

The New York Annual Conference Stance on Racial Injustice

From the Desk of Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton

Bishop Bickerton Offers Steps Toward Dismantling Racism in the New York Annual Conference (June 26, 2020)
The murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 has brought to bear the urgency to intentionally and effectively address systemic racism in all sectors of our society. The church is not immune to that examination as well. We have been complicit in allowing racist systems, structures, and behaviors to be maintained for as long as we have been in existence. The time has come, and the opportunity is clearly before us.
Are We Listening? (June 2, 2020)

In times like this I miss the voice of historic leaders who found a way to brilliantly weave reality with prophecy, peace with justice, and love in the midst of times when it is so very easy to hate.  One of those amazing, God-led leaders was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the midst of a context that created chaos and controversy, it was Dr. King who said, “Certain conditions continue to exist in our society, which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots.  But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.”

A Call to Prayer (May 28, 2020)
I can’t breathe. Those are the last words George Floyd used as four police officers pinned him by his neck on Monday evening, resulting in his death.  They were also the last words spoken by Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man killed in New York City in 2014.  These senseless acts of violence by police officers against unarmed Black men is intolerable and provide clear evidence that the racism I just spoke of over the weekend in relation to Ahmaud Arbery is deep and dangerous and unjust. I can’t breathe.

More Than One Pandemic: Reflections on Ahmaud Arbery (May 23, 2020)
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to dominate the news.  From medical advice to political implications to a gradual re-opening, these are the stories discussed each night in a thirty-minute newscast or a multi-page newspaper.  It’s all about the virus. But tucked away in some of those broadcasts there is a video.  It’s a tape of a young man running.  His name is Ahmaud Arbery.

From our NYAC Churches and Leadership

A Statement of the Korean Council of the New York Annual Conference: Standing in Solidarity with the Oppressed: the Murder of George Floyd (June 11, 2020)
We, the Korean Council of the New York Annual Conference, condemn the systemic evil manifested in many forms and shapes of racism—racial discrimination, racial inequity, racial profiling, racial stereotyping, white supremacy—still perpetrated in the murder of Mr. George Floyd. We name racism as a sin that trespasses beyond individual ethics and faith, even fortified into structural, systemic oppression in society.