St. John’s UCC in Lansdale is committed to better understanding and working to resolve issues of racial justice in our church, in our community, in our country and in the world. There are no easy answers to this complex issue, but we seek to do what we can through prayer, reading, studying and taking action where we can.
From our United Church of Christ denomination: “In America, the topic of race continues to be difficult to discuss in many social settings. Very few Christian churches are leading bold and courageous conversations, engaging in direct social activism, and participating in civil disobedience as a way to bring attention to and disrupt racist systems and structures.
The Christian Church is the catalyst for addressing historical and contemporary issues regarding the intersections of race and racism that continues to harm communities of color. The United Church of Christ acknowledges and supports the equality of all humans. In 1993, The Nineteenth General Synod called upon UCC congregations in all its settings to be a true multiracial and multicultural church. Almost 30 years later, the call continues to go forth.
The call to be a multiracial and multicultural church is an acknowledgement that racial justice is the inclusiveness of all humans and never excludes anyone based on skin color, culture or ethnic origin. The United Church of Christ stands in solidarity with the creation narrative in Genesis 1:26-27, which clearly outlines what matters to God—all of humankind and a just world for all. God created humankind in God’s image and likeness, women and men are image bearers, sharing equal status as human beings. God did not create race, racism, superior groups of humans, and hierarchical and hegemonic social structures. God does not sanction human suffering including America’s involvement in—
- Inhumane social confinement due to mass incarceration and surveillance of communities of color
- Global confiscation of another cultures land and resources
- Human trafficking and the enslavement and sexual violence and assault against women and children
- Deportation and the separation of families from immigrant communities
- Police brutality and militarized tactics and abuses resulting in the murder of people of color
- Using global armaments and acts of terrorism on innocent civilians domestically and abroad
- Supporting White Christian supremacy over and against non-Christian faith communities
Click the link below to go to the United Church of Christ Racial Justice webpage:
Fighting Racism – from our Conference – The PSEC:
The UCC’s call to be a multiracial and multicultural church is an acknowledgement that racial justice is the inclusiveness of all humans regardless of skin color, culture, or ethnic origin. Scripture states that all people are created in God’s image, meaning racism and white supremacy are not merely “personal beliefs” but real, categorical evil in our midst. Since the very founding of our nation, institutionalized racism has denied people of color equal access to freedom, property, representation, employment, education, just policing, and due process, just to name a few. Racial biases still remain embedded in our public and private institutions, unfairly privileging some of God’s people over others. As Christians, we are obligated to engage in sacred conversations on race, while seeking to dismantle both overt and covert racism wherever we encounter it.
To learn more, visit: http://www.ucc.org/justice_racism
This article was suggested reading by our UCC Pennsylvania Southeast Conference. From the Racial Justice Team: How to be an ally (click link below to read article).
Recommended Reading: Our 2021 Lenten Study was based on the book “I’m Still Here. Black Dignity in a World made for Whiteness” – Austin Channing Brown
Click the links below for a study guide for this book written by Pastor Emerita Sue Bertolette for our 2021 Lenten Study of this book (in Word format).
Per Pastor Emerita Susan Bertolette: “Karen Methlie shared the article below. It was one of the winning entries in AAUW’s 2021 Excellence in Writing competition for high school students, and the author readily granted Karen permission to share it. This piece is both beautifully and powerfully written.” The article is in Word format – click the title to open.
Our Pennsylvania Southeast Conference (PSEC) of the United Church of Christ (UCC) also has a webpage dedicated to racial justice. It is part of the ‘Zachariah Walker Racial Justice Initiative’, named for a Black man lynched in the PSEC region in Coatesville, Pa. on August 13, 1911. Click the link below to go to the PSEC Racial Justice page.
PSEC Anti-Racism Statement
The Pennsylvania Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ commits itself to the proclamation of the Gospel and the furthering of the mission of Jesus Christ. As disciples of Jesus, we are all called to follow the mandate to love one another completely, regardless of race, creed, gender, culture or difference. This is our mission: to speak the truth with love to powers and principalities, confronting bigotry and bias wherever we go.
We acknowledge the role that white Christians have played in both denying and, at the same time supporting, racist structures and attitudes, and we humbly beg forgiveness for our conforming to the evil of racism. We understand that bias can be an unconscious and unintentional failure, as well as a chosen worldview. We are reminded by the Scriptures that diversity and inclusion are necessary components of a mature, radically welcoming faith. We accept that each one of us has our own story to tell, our own history to own, and our own confession around racism for which we must atone.
Over the centuries, we have seen the pain and suffering brought about by systemic racism, and we commit ourselves to being proactively anti-racist in our work, our worship, and our communities. While we mourn the tragic losses created by a system rooted in white supremacy and nurtured by a system of white privilege, we commit ourselves to doing the work of Jesus to overcome hatred and oppression in our faith communities. We commit ourselves to opposing racism wherever it appears, whether it be institutional, economic, faith-based, or social.
Finally, we promise to be allies to all who are oppressed by these systems, committing ourselves to listen to the words of those who have been harmed by racism. We will stand in support of all who face oppressive situations, working together to dismantle the structures of this sin. We do this as servants of the risen Christ, who was Himself a poor person of color, oppressed by an invading nationalistic power, who was murdered for standing with others just like Him.
The National Council of Churches, also has a racial justice program, A.C.T. Now to End Racism, which includes churches from many denominations, including the UCC. Click the link below:
The National Council of Churches racial justice program has a listing of website resources from a variety of denominations.
Our home county, Montgomery County, Pa. also has an initiative, The Racial Justice Improvement Project. Click the link below to access their webpage:
The UCC website has a page detailing the UCC support of “Black Lives Matter”. Click the link below to go to the UCC webpage.
The United Church of Christ website also links to the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama.