Becoming an Anti-Racist Conference
“In the year that Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd were murdered, I saw the Lord.” The opening words of our 2020 Virtual Annual Conference shared by our Bishop Ken Carter as he launched the Bishop’s Task Force on Anti-Racism. This work is in continuity with ministry that has taken place over many years. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has raised more White people’s consciousness about racial inequities that Black and Brown people have protested for hundreds of years. Additionally, the recent killings have finally led to the urgent need to respond more clearly and intentionally to racism within our annual conference and across our state.
The pains of racism are real to all humanity who have been and are being oppressed. Our hearts break repetitively as we watch the news, hear the reports about another deadly shooting, and pray for healing again and radical change. The impact of systemic racism cannot be ignored by the people of the Florida Annual Conference, the Church, and leaders seeking transformation by the Holy Spirit.
Through a contentious awakening within our annual conference, communities, congregations, and families from the dual pandemics of racism and COVID-19, our call to action is created. We acknowledge the recent pandemic of COVID-19 and lament the centuries-long pandemic of racism. These dual pandemics exposed those who have been indifferent, ignorant, and apathetic to long-standing barriers and walls within our denomination that support hatred, harm, and inequities. The harsh reality is that the sin of racism is alive, and it robs our faithful witness of love to the world.
As Jesus’ people we begin with the knowledge that all persons are created in the image of God. We seek to name the injustices within the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church and work toward healing and unity. We acknowledge our complicity and our collective need to develop greater self-awareness. We repent of our individual and collective sins of omission and commission, particularly our silence and when we have not actively worked for racial justice.