Jumpstarts for Diversity Work: Policies of Nondiscrimination

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Make visible your commitment to intercultural cooperation by adopting a policy of nondiscrimination for your congregation. Share it with church trustees and members of the staff-parish relations committee, other volunteer leaders, staff, parishioners, and partners, such as the daycare center or senior program that may share your church facilities.


First United Methodist Church, Van Wert, Ohio. Photo courtesy of Flickr user OZinOH.

Particularly, because many congregations are mono-racial and mono-cultural, some United Methodists may be unaware that the Church stands for inclusiveness as an expression of our faith in the God who created us all. Therefore, your policy should refer to the Constitution of The United Methodist Church, which in Par. 4, Article 1, affirms the “sacred worth” of all people, and declares all ministries of the Church open to “all persons, without regard to race, color, national origin, status or economic condition.” (Consider adding “ability,” “gender,” and “age,” to inform those congregations that still struggle with embracing women, people with physical challenges, and young people as pastors.) Further, explain that Article 5 of the Constitution confesses “the sin of racism” and calls the Church to be an agent for justice and reconciliation.

Add this statement to your congregational policies on Safe Sanctuary, accessibility, and hiring. Include statements of welcome for laity and clergy of all races, ethnicities, and cultures. Discuss implications of adopting and living into such a statement.

Developing and adopting such a statement can help raise awareness about how your congregation perceives itself and how it is perceived in the community; use the document as a starting place for increasing intercultural ministry within and beyond your church.

 

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GCORR is building the capacity of The United Methodist Church to be contextually relevant and to reach more people, younger people, and more diverse people as we make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.