Each U.S. annual conference of The United Methodist Church has a conference commission on religion and race or related structure. Its mandate is to provide resources, training, coaching, and programming to support congregations in fostering greater cross-cultural understanding and dealing with institutional racism.
Ask your pastor or district superintendent for the name of your conference commission chairperson. Ask her or him to meet with a group from your congregation to discuss ways to engage your church in intercultural understanding, ministry and mission. Discuss current issues and challenges facing the annual conference and community. Ask how your church might become involved. Consider short-term and long-term strategies for building relationships with people across racial/ethnic/cultural boundaries. Discover what programs and strategies have worked or have not worked in the past, and listen. Offer to help create cross-cultural conversations and solicit the committee’s training, suggestions, and support.
Finally, plan to attend workshops or events sponsored by conference Commission on Religion and Race or racial-ethnic ministry teams in your annual conference to learn more, and don’t limit your involvement to events related to your own racial-ethnic group. Strive in your learning and partnerships to support equity, justice and cooperation among several groups. Your congregation will benefit from earning a reputation of being a symbol of God’s inclusiveness and welcome.