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“United Methodists Stand Against Racism” campaign offers array of actions

In a campaign called simply “United Methodists Stand Against Racism,” the United Methodist Church is offering an array of worship opportunities, prayer gatherings, practical suggestions and other resources.

“We recognize racism as a sin,” reads a statement introducing the campaign. “We commit to challenging unjust systems of power and access.”

Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians: ‘Mama, Mama... I Can’t Breathe!’

The Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians published a statement entitled “Mama, Mama…I Can’t Breathe!” that expresses heartbreak over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a policeman.

“Floyd pleaded for his life to no avail until he finally succumbed to death,” reads the statement. “The community has been pleading, ‘Black Lives Matter.’ ”

Women bishops offer candid look at what drives their leadership

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, a retired United Methodist bishop from the USA, has spent her career voicing the need for a church that includes all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. And, throughout her career, she’s never been afraid to say that out loud.

Rev. Nathan Day Wilson: “Sunday’s values need to become Monday's values”

Rev. Nathan Day Wilson is a pastor with the Disciples of Christ in the United States and currently holds the position as director of communications at the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is associate editor and columnist for the Faith and Values section of the Indianapolis Star. Wilson was a lecturer at the seminar, “Equipping each other for Christian Witness in a multi-cultural and multi-faith world”, taking place at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute from 5-15 August.

Peacemakers at work in Sri Lanka

In the wake of the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, the Omnia Institute for Contextual Leadership, based in Chicago, lifted up points of hope that peace will win in the end. In a 25 April message, Shanta Premawardhana, president of the institute, wrote that every person of every faith of every nation deserves to wake up in peace. “Every child deserves to feel safe, welcomed, and alive to the promise that each day brings,” Premawardhana wrote. “I'm sure you know that this is why we build Interfaith Peacemaker Teams in Sri Lanka.”

WCC condemns attack on California synagogue

The World Council of Churches (WCC) condemned an attack on Congregation Chabad, a synagogue in Poway, California, on 27 April that left at least one person dead and three wounded. A 19-year-old man was in custody after the shooting, which officials were describing as a possible hate crime.

Rev. Dr Shanta Premawardhana: ‘Seeds of peace come from the ground’

“The seeds of peace come from the ground.” That is the vision that Rev. Dr Shanta Premawardhana, former director of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches and now president of OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership, tries to follow with his organization.

“Dear white Christians: what now?”

Hundreds of people gathered, then hundreds more, the crowd growing and marching in silence to the beat of a drum as dawn broke on 4 April, 50 years to the day since Rev. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee.

At CSW62, “stories are the heartbeat”

Dr Ulysses Burley III is serving as a WCC delegate to the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York City (CSW62), being held 12-23 March. Dr Burley, from Chicago, is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He currently serves on the WCC-Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance HIV Access to Treatment Working Group.

As Hollywood speaks out, will other wounded women go deeper in the shadows?

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson has a unique position in observing and advocating for women’s rights or, as she would quickly clarify, “the fair treatment of human beings” no matter what their gender. As bishop-in-residence at the Hollywood United Methodist Church, she ministers to church members who were not only present at this week’s Golden Globe Awards – they were the nominees. And, as vice-moderator of the WCC Central Committee, she is part of a global parish, traveling to communities far removed from the privilege of Hollywood, where violence occurs against women who are seen by their own communities as having no voice and no rights.

“The work of truth-telling has to happen”

At a “Hearing on Racism, Discrimination, Afrophobia and Xenophobia” held at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on 25 September, speakers reflected, lamented and, at times, simply sat in silence as they considered the experience of people of African descent in the USA.