Anti-Racism Task Force
September 2021 Update
The Anti-racism Task Force was appointed by Church Council in August 2020 to identify ways in which DMUMC contributes to systems of racism and anti-racism and share with Church Council ways we can become an anti-racist church.
But why does becoming an anti-racist church matter? “Love the Lord your God....(it says in Luke 11:25-29)....with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And we hear from Amos 5 that to love is to fight for justice- justice that rolls on like a river. As Christians, we believe the work of anti-racism is the work of mercy and justice as we seek to love our neighbor as ourselves.
And we’re not the only ones doing the work! The United Methodist Church has undertaken the work of anti-racism for years through the General Commission on Religion and Race founded in 1968. The North Carolina Conference under the leadership of Bishop Ward has also been promoting anti-racism work. And we join several other churches here in Durham on this journey as well.
In 2016, following the death of Michael Brown, Duke Memorial began to pray, preach, teach, and discern what it means to be an anti-racist congregation. Most recently, in 2020, new investments and commitments were made, the Anti-Racism Task Force being one of those.
So far, the Task Force has spent time together learning about the history of our city and our church, and discussing what we believe are important ideas to become an anti-racist congregation. We asked church leaders to complete an inventory on racial equity with their committees, allowing them to reflect on how their work may contribute to or hinder racial justice. And we realized that, to do this work well, we needed professional expertise.
We are excited to announce that, with approval from Church Council, we have hired local consultant Alicia Crosby to guide us in our work!
Alicia’s consultation with us will include a congregation survey, meetings with the ART Force, and listening sessions with the congregation. The work of the Task Force will conclude in November in a final report with recommendations for next steps to become an anti-racist church. The report will then be given to the Church Council, who will decide on the next steps.
From you, friends, we ask for participation in the process - sign up for a listening session, complete a survey*, pray for the journey, and offer grace: Grace for ourselves, and grace from each other in order to do this important and difficult work well. We will mess up, most certainly, and from our mistakes will learn a better way even as we will be amazed again, through the difficult work ahead, just how mighty God is when we step out in faith in the name of justice, hope and love.
Rev. Heather Rodrigues
Chair, Anti-racism Task Force
*Information coming soon about upcoming listening sessions and survey opportunities.