Proposed by the First Congregational Church, Amherst, UCC; Hadwen Park Congregational UCC, Worcester; and the Commission for Mission and Justice Ministries; and approved by the 212th Annual Meeting Massachusetts Conference, UCC, June 18, 2011.
WHEREAS, Scripture tells us that “… you are all one in union with Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28b); that Jesus prayed “… that they may all be one” (John 17:21a); and that God “requires” us “… to do justice…”(Micah 6:8b);
WHEREAS, Systemic and institutionalized racism remains deeply embedded in our society, and fosters division and inequality;
WHEREAS, Acts of racism and racist speech (both coded and explicit) have risen in frequency and intensity in recent years;
WHEREAS, Most people in this country have relatively segregated social lives, and an illusion of colorblindness and silence about racism characterize most white spaces;
WHEREAS, It is God’s will to offer us the blessings that come from being whole as a multi-racial reflection of the Body of Christ, and;
WHEREAS, The General Synods of the United Church of Christ have since 1963 voted 12 resolutions, statements, and pronouncements denouncing racism, and in 2003 resolved “that the United Church of Christ is called to be an antiracist church”; and in 2008 the UCC Collegium of Officers called on all churches to inaugurate sacred conversations on race;
RESOLVED, That seeking to be faithful ministers of our God of love and justice, we, the delegates of the 2011 Annual Meeting, do affirm that the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC is committed to pro-active anti-racism – seeking with God’s help to actively work for the elimination of racism and white privilege in our communities, our nation and our world;
RESOLVED, That we call on all churches in the Conference to engage in sacred conversations on race and in on-going study, reflection, dialogue, and prayer about race, racism, white privilege and racial justice. We encourage congregations and individuals in the Conference to learn how to contribute more directly to the elimination of both personal and systemic/institutional racism throughout our society, and to take concrete action steps;
RESOLVED, That we call on all churches in the Conference to be actively welcoming to all people, and in particular, to people of all racial backgrounds, striving to fully recognize and include people of diverse racial backgrounds in the life and leadership of each church and of the Conference, prayerfully identifying and removing barriers in our practices and cultures to such inclusion, and building the Beloved Community both in, and beyond, or congregations;
RESOLVED, That following a period of learning, dialogue, and prayer we invite each church in the Conference to publicly declare itself to be a pro-active, anti-racism church – seeking with God’s help to be a force for the elimination of racism and white privilege in our world;
RESOLVED, That the Anti-Racism Task Force in cooperation with the appropriate commissions and other task forces will provide resources, support, and guidance to congregations, and/or small groups within congregations, that agree to undertake a process of thoughtful and prayerful examination of these issues; and
RESOLVED, That we approach this humbly, knowing we have a great deal to learn. We seek a prayerful openness to the truth, even when that truth may be uncomfortable and call us to repentance. We seek to reach for each other with mutual respect, love, patience, forgiveness, and a willingness to learn and change.