The delegate body on Tuesday, July 12, took action on “Query: Standing with People of Color” (new business item 2) from Southern Ohio and Kentucky District, which asks, “How can the Church of the Brethren stand with People of Color to offer sanctuary from violence and dismantle systems of oppression and racial inequity in our congregations, neighborhoods, and throughout the nation?”
The Conference amended one sentence in the recommendation from the Standing Committee of district delegates. It accepted the concerns of the query with thanks to the church and district for this important reminder. It answered the query with the following response, which is now an official statement of Annual Conference, and a plan for implementation:
“We recognize the struggles faced by many of our sisters and brothers of color and believe the church should be agents of change. We encourage congregations, districts, agencies, and other denominational entities to continue to follow the teachings of Jesus by living out the great commandment of loving our neighbor as ourselves. We understand the great diversity that the word neighbor implies. So we encourage congregations to study the teachings of Jesus and how they apply to our relationships with all people of color, to express solidarity with all people of color, offer sanctuary from all forms of violence, and identify and dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions, and then begin to live out those findings by being Jesus in the neighborhood.”
This response will be implemented through a two-year study/action process. This would include Southern Ohio-Kentucky District and On Earth Peace collaborating to develop various materials for congregation, district, and denominational use. Standing Committee members would support and encourage the use of these materials and participation in the process and report back to Annual Conference in 2023 and 2024.
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