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    United Methodists of Upper New YorkLiving the Gospel. Being God's Love.

    news article

    A good year for the Conference Commission on Religion and Race

    June 19, 2023 / By Georgia Whitney, Co-Convener CCORR

    The Conference Commission on Religion and Race is making good progress in its mission to challenge, lead, and equip The United Methodists of Upper New York to become interculturally competent, ensure institutional equity, and facilitate vital conversations. Here’s what we’ve been up to in the last year:

    Imagine No Racism (INR)

    At least five new groups experienced the INR 2.0 curriculum, and we have a total of 30 facilitators throughout our districts. We’ve continued to edit the curriculum for clarity, and recently revamped session 6 to make its practices more actionable.

    This year, for the first time, churches submitted their INR charge conference reports online, and all twelve districts submitted reports on their antiracism work. This is a big improvement from last year, when only six districts responded.

    This system has also greatly simplified our data collection process. Here are our overall results:

    • We received 561 reports, which is a 68% response rate, and 14% higher than last year’s 54% rate.
    • Of those responses, 305 churches, or 54.4%, say they are doing some form of antiracism work.
    • In terms of resources that would be most helpful to a church in continuing or beginning anti-racism work, the most popular options are sermons, bible studies, and book/movie/video discussions.

    Each church that submitted a report receives a customized thank you email from CCORR that also responds to their antiracism work. This has generated some very fruitful dialog as well as some excellent opportunities for the CCORR team to be of additional service.

    We continue to offer training to pastors and laity who have not yet experienced INR 2.0, and are currently finalizing a plan for commissioned clergy to complete INR through the Board of Ordained Ministry.

    CCORR’s Work in 2022

    Last year, CCORR began to strengthen its efforts to resource the INR 2.0 curriculum and equip leaders at every level of the conference to fight racism. We started to focus in new directions, broadening our work in three specific areas.

    First, we began to address the harms of racism experienced by all People of Color in the UNY Conference, building on our efforts to be a resource and ally to these groups. Thus far CCORR team members have:

    • Regularly participated in Hispanic pastors' covenant group, and the African American/Black Leadership Caucus. One of our team members remains strongly connected to CONAM as well.
    • Provided information on grant opportunities to about 25 conference churches that are comprised mainly of People of Color.
    • Worked with the Rev. Mike Weeden to support the Conference's cross-cultural/cross racial appointment process.
    • Developed and equipped an incident response team available to the cabinet and conference to address specific acts of racism occurring in our churches.

    Secondly, we are slowly beginning to develop a multigenerational approach to antiracist work, ensuring that we hear all the voices of this Conference and actively seeking the input of Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Z-ers. This effort includes:

    • Talking to youth and young adults outside of CCORR who are committed to antiracism work. How are they already engaged, and what do they need from CCORR? What don't older folks get?
    • Brainstorming on how we can make our messages bigger to support more people.
    • Meeting with Camps and Retreats Ministry leaders for input to determine how we can best work together.

    Third, we began work to increase the number of churches and people actively engaged in anti-racism work by:

    • Providing coaching for churches/groups who want to move forward after completing INR. We’re now discussing process and timing.
    • Encouraging/exhorting current facilitators to start their own groups.          

    We appreciate everyone’s support for this important ministry over the past 12 months. We’ll let you know about our goals for 2023-2024 in a subsequent article.


    With more than 100,000 members, United Methodists of Upper New York comprises of more than 675 local churches and New Faith Communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."