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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Imagine No Racism workshops to take place at Annual Conference 2019

    May 7, 2019 / By Shannon Hodson / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    The Upper New York Conference’s Imagine No Racism (INR) is an initiative that was sparked by an unanimously approved resolution in July of 2016, at the Northeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church, for every Annual Conference to confront the sin of racism in our own hearts, our churches, and our communities.

    This initiative was created by the Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb’s Taskforce on Eliminating Racism and was launched on April 21, 2018. Each District has created small groups who have committed to meeting and studying a six-session General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) curriculum to ultimately understand the sin of racism and strategize ways to confront this deeply embedded issue across our Conference and the community at large. These groups were led by INR trained facilitators.

    Dr. Blenda Smith, chair of the Conference Commission on Religion and Race (CCORR), said, “More than half of the clergy participated in the six-session INR process but many more are yet to engage. “

    CCORR plans to offer a revised INR curriculum for the fall of 2019. In the meantime, UNY Conference clergy and laity registered for Annual Conference can attend INR workshops on June 7 from 12:15-1:30 at Annual Conference. This is one way that members of our Conference can continue to engage in the critical work of understanding and eliminating racism.

    Dr. Smith said, “The overall goals for the workshops are an increased knowledge and sensitivity about individual and institutional racism and an enhanced desire and ability to bring this work back to one's own local church.  

    Registrants had the opportunity to choose one of four workshops to attend on their registration form. While two of the workshops have sold out, the other two will be able to accept walk-in attendees.

    Why Is It So Hard to Talk About Race?

    Led by Dr. Blenda Smith and Georgia Whitney MFA, INR Regional Coordinator for Adirondack, Albany, Binghamton, Finger Lakes, Mountain View, and Oneonta Districts

    Racism is everywhere, and racial tension, animosity and pain are in almost everything we see and touch. We must talk about race -- ignoring it does not make it go away. This workshop will include multiple perspectives on talking about race, and suggest strategies to share our truths more effectively.

    Preaching and Teaching to Confront Racism

    Led by Rev. Harold Wheat and Rev. Rebekah Sweet

    God has given you the gift and access to dozens of spiritual resources to facilitate a transformative encounter with Christ through preaching and teaching. This workshop is designed to help you identify your strengths, avoid common pitfalls, and become more confident in your Christ-given authority to love people out of racism and into wholeness.

    They're Up Next: Leading Youth to Imagine No Racism - SOLD OUT

    Led by the Rev. Carrie Wolfe and Charles Syms, LCSW, INR Regional Coordinator for Cornerstone, Genesee Valley, and Niagara Frontier Districts

    Involvement of our youth in this work is essential as they are a vital part of the Church. Youth leaders, adults and youth participants attending this workshop will explore how to incorporate youth (ages 13-17) into a church’s “Imagine No Racism” ministry.

    Strategies for Responding to Racism and Racist Incidents - SOLD OUT

    Led by Dr. Scott Johnson (former Conference Lay leader) and Linda Hughes (CCORR member)

    What if someone tells a racist joke in your presence? What if you find KKK materials left at your door? What if your friend criticizes players for kneeling during the National Anthem? Participants will learn how to take more effective action in confronting racism in situations like these and others.

    TAGGED / Annual Conference 2019


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."