From the desk of Bishop Mark J. Webb: Imagine no Racism engagement
August 13, 2018 / By Bishop Mark J. Webb
Editor's Note: Below is a letter that Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb sent to the Upper New York COnference on Tuesday August 14.
Dear Imagine No Racism Group Participants,
I am grateful to each of you for your participation in Upper New York’s Imagine No Racism ministry. You are engaging in the urgent work of addressing racism in ourselves, our Church, and in our communities. This is holy work that we join our sisters and brothers throughout the Northeast Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church in doing. Thank you.
Imagine No Racism groups across the Annual Conference are at different points in their journeys. As expected, some are half-way through this initial study. Others are beginning. Wherever you and your group are, I hope you find the materials helpful in undergirding and equipping you in this important work. If you have not yet joined a small group, I remind you of the expectation for every clergy member to participate and to encourage laity to do the same. You can contact your District Advocate for assistance in starting or joining a small group. For your convenience, click here for a list of District Advocates.
With some groups past the half-way point, I wanted to call our attention to the future. We know that this current study is but a preparation for the ongoing work of addressing and combating racism. What we do in these groups- while significant- will mean little unless we bring its importance home and find ways to help brothers and sisters in our local congregations and mission fields participate. Our primary goal has always been to equip local congregations to fully engage in this work among themselves and throughout the community where God has planted them to bear witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
There is a “brainstorm” exercise in the sixth and final session designed to help us do that. However, please do not wait until then. This “What’s Next?” discussion is an important one your small groups will want to grapple with in planning for local church engagement. More than simply answering a question or two with your District Superintendent and on a Charge Conference form, finding ways to support and uphold one another in the work of anti-racism is crucial as we move into the future.
Remember you do not engage in this work alone. Your District Advocates, Regional Coordinators, and the Cabinet stand ready to assist you when and as needed. Do not hesitate to contact them.
Again, my grateful prayers are with you, your colleagues, and your loved ones as we move through these closing days of summer and prepare to continue our missions and our ministries in the year ahead.
Grace and peace,
Mark J. Webbb