Petition 81257

Print this page
Submitted TextClose Window X

The Church and Ethnic Tensions (81257-C2-R9999)

Add new resolution:
  
The Church and Ethnic Tensions
WHEREAS, “from one blood,” God “made all nations to inhabit the whole earth” (Acts 17:26); and
WHEREAS, all of humanity is equally created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), which makes the denigration of any person a form of blasphemy; and
WHEREAS, Jesus Christ dramatically extended His love to persons outside his own ethnic group; and
WHEREAS, Scripture teaches, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28); and
WHEREAS, by His sacrifice on the cross, our Lord “ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9); and
WHEREAS, the book of Revelation records John’s God-given vision of “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb,” praising God (Revelation 7:9-10); and
WHEREAS, the targeting of individuals and groups of people for mistreatment on the basis of their race, ethnicity, tribe, or language is a consequence of the Fall that has ever since dreadfully plagued humanity; and  
WHEREAS, the unity of repentant sinners at the foot of the cross—whatever their race, ethnicity, or tribe—is ultimately deeper than any unity that the world has to offer; and
WHEREAS, all of us at various times are capable of being perpetrators or victims of sins of ethnic or tribal prejudice, hatred, or discriminatory action; and
WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church has commendably adopted many statements addressing specific issues related to ethnic diversity and discrimination; and
WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church has rightly promoted steps toward repentance for the sins of racism committed by our denomination and its predecessor bodies (Resolution #162: Act of Repentance for Racism); and
WHEREAS, there are currently five United Methodist ethnic national plans for ministry within specific populations in the United States; and
WHEREAS, violent racist and tribal-based groups have frequent caused great suffering throughout history; and
WHEREAS, in recent years, in various denominations, a number of congregations have established “sister church” associations across ethnic, cultural, and/or socioeconomic lines, through which the unique gifts of each of the two congregations are combined for more effective ministry, and very different demographic groups are empowered to create mutual trust and understanding; and
WHEREAS, some “sister church” associations sometimes cross national boundaries, with one congregation regularly sending short-term missions teams to the other;  
Therefore, be it resolved, that the 2000 General Conference affirms its complete opposition to all racial, ethnic, and tribal hatred and discrimination as fundamentally opposed to the reconciling Gospel of Jesus Christ; and
Be it further resolved, that whenever Christians perpetrate sins of commission or omission in this area, we mourn both the immediate wrong done as well as any resultant hindrance to the spread of the Gospel; and
Be it further resolved, along with mourning the racial sins of our denominational past, we also celebrate John Wesley’s steadfast opposition to slavery, the faithful Christian witness our brothers and sisters in the African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, and Christian Methodist Episcopal denominations, the racial/ethnic minority persons in the United States who remained within our denomination’s predecessor bodies despite enormous hardships, and the Mississippi Methodist clergy who boldly stood against their culture and even many of their fellow ministers by releasing the 1963 “Born of Conviction” declaration denouncing both racial discrimination and communism; and
Be it further resolved, that we also applaud the faithful witness against slavery and racism of the Free Methodist Church and the Wesleyan Church, and we mourn how the racial sin in our denomination’s predecessor bodies contributed to schism; and
Be it further resolved, that we mourn United Methodism’s continued failure in outreach to racial/ethnic minority persons in the United States, who today comprise less than 10 percent of our American membership; and
Be it further resolved, that we call on United Methodist congregations to be at the forefront of promoting harmony and reconciliation between different racial, ethnic, tribal, and linguistic groups in their communities; and
Be it further resolved, that we affirm the urgency of promoting our church’s ministry among specific populations in the United States; and
Be it further resolved, that we enthusiastically celebrate the growing diversity of United Methodism thanks to the dramatic growth of our church in Africa and elsewhere outside the U.S.; and  
Be it further resolved, our church must proclaim the Gospel even  to the prejudiced and the bigoted, that even they might be won to the ways of Christ; and  
Be it further resolved, that we celebrate and encourage increasingly close ties with the African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, and Christian Methodist Episcopal denominations; and
Be it further resolved, that we declare our desire for stronger relationships at the denominational agency, regional, and local level with the Free Methodist and Wesleyan denominations; and  
Be it further resolved, that we encourage every United Methodist congregation to consider local or international “sister church” associations with other United Methodist congregations to show the Gospel’s power to transcend ethnic and economic differences; and
Be it further resolved, that we recommend that every active bishop encourage “sister church” associations; and
Be it finally  resolved, that we encourage the General Board of Global Ministries to offer resources to local congregations to facilitate cross-cultural “sister church” associations that emphasize the saving and transforming power of the Risen Christ.  


Rationale

Opposing prejudice is central to our Christian faith.