District team emerges from felt need to confront the evil of racial injustice

By Nick Beam, interim associate executive minister for South Ohio and Kentucky District, with Jon Keller, Todd Reish, and Mike Yingst of the district’s Racial Justice Team

We in the Southern Ohio and Kentucky District have always strived to be intentional about addressing the concerns in our society. For instance, during a Missional Renewal Team meeting shortly after George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020, the conversation centered on that tragedy and the epidemic of violence against people of color, along with the systemic racial injustice in our country triggering this violence.

Personal stories were shared of workplace experiences and family members and friends who have been the victims of racial injustice. Out of this conversation came a felt need to begin to be more intentional about confronting this evil in our society. Out of this felt need a group of people formed a Racial Justice Team to address these issues.

The purpose statement of this team is: The Southern Ohio/Kentucky District Race Relations Team seeks to raise awareness among members of the district about issues of racial justice and call us to action through education, relationship building, and advocacy to bring about healing and wholeness in our community.

This group has been active since its formation in living out this purpose statement by sending out a monthly newsletter, holding monthly meetings, and by hearing stories from those in our district who have been directly affected by racial injustice. Some other activities of the group have been leading a Racial Justice for Lent Series during Lent 2021 and holding a racial justice workshop during our district conference in October 2021.

A big accomplishment for the group was the formation of a query that was approved by our district conference in October 2021 to pass on to next summer’s Annual Conference in Omaha, Neb. This query seeks to not only call the denomination to speak out against the injustices, but also to find ways to stand with the victims of racial injustice with the hope of ending such evil.

The team is currently planning another Lenten Bible Study for Lent 2022. Our district is blessed to have this team of passionate individuals who are diligently working at educating and calling our district to action to help end this pervasive evil in our society.


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