Press Release


WASHINGTON D.C. – General Commission on Religion and Race, an agency of The United Methodist Church, will launch the third in a series of TED-styled talk videos entitled Vital Conversations 3: Young Adults, Social Justice and the Church. GCORR’s year long 14 part series is designed to spark grassroots engagement and features study guides for each video talk that help small groups and individuals delve deeper into social issues.

Vital Conversations 3 will debut online Tuesday, February 7, at 9 p.m. EST, featuring a video talk by The Rev. Jennifer Bailey of FaithMatters Network followed by a live Q&A with Bailey. Bailey, an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and activist-in-residence at the Scarritt-Bennett Center, discusses how contemporary human rights movements such as Black Lives Matter compare and contrast with the Civil Rights era and other efforts of the past.

The second video presentation by Katelin Hansen of Columbus, Ohio will premiere at 9 p.m. EST, Tuesday, February 21. Hansen is director of experiential learning and church and community development for the United Methodist Church for All People in Columbus.

Access a complete list of Vital Conversation 3 presenters and the live release schedule.

All 14 presenters are aged 35 or younger and are activists, theologians, preachers, musicians, dancers, seminarians, and business entrepreneurs from Africa, Germany and the US. Each talks about the search for areas that welcome, respect and engage expressions of faith, spirituality, ideals and community action.  Some of the issues raised include:

  • Is social action the business of Christians?
  • Should a pastor preach about racial justice?
  • How do churches make space for young adults seeking to change the world, even while mistrusting institutional religion?
  • Can hip-hop music co-exist with hymns at Sunday-morning worship?
  • Do people of faith have particular call to champion refugees, LGBTQ persons, or the poor?

GCORR project developers say this resource offers a platform for young people of faith, and to allow older church members some insight into the hopes, concerns, and opinions that some younger adults hold about “traditional” faith communities. The goal is to foster intergenerational dialogue about intersections of faith and social action.

“Young adults are living their faith in ways that the traditional church has yet to embrace and understand fully,” said Erin M. Hawkins, Vital Conversations’ executive producer of the series and general secretary of General Commission on Religion and Race.

“Silence on social and moral issues is not an option for the church. Communities of faith should be places where we can talk about tough issues in an atmosphere of mutual respect and spiritual courage,” Hawkins added. “These videos were developed to provoke conversation.”

Vital Conversations 3 is the latest in a series of Vital Conversations videos developed by Religion and Race for group study among congregations, campus ministries, church leaders, seminary students, and faculty.

Vital Conversations was introduced in 2014 in two parts, Part 1 – “Racism and the U.S. Church” and Part 2 – “Race, Culture Tribe, and the Global Church”.


The General Commission of Religion and Race is an agency of The United Methodist Church. The agency provides resources, training, and support to leaders and congregations throughout the church to help them engage and embrace the cultural diversity present in our congregations and communities.
# # #


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.