Statement on racism from the Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of the Conference
The brutal killing of George Floyd, who died at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, has prompted a wave of anger and revulsion around the world. As Christian people, we are appalled that someone could die in such a fashion and appalled also at the continued injustice which many Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people experience in many parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, and in many institutions, including, shamefully, the Methodist Church in Britain.
We therefore welcome and endorse the call of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement for radical action in addressing the causes of this injustice. The Methodist Church in Britain believes that racism is a denial of the gospel. However, we have to recognize that we have not eradicated the problem from our Church, despite the excellent work of many over several decades; in the last year we have redoubled our efforts to do so and are actively working on the implementation of our ‘Inclusive Methodist Church’ strategy which commits to challenging all forms of discrimination and creating a Church where people from every background are welcome and are safe from abuse and discrimination.
Such a Church will celebrate and not be afraid of diversity; it will be disciplined and uncompromising in its refusal to tolerate any form of racism; it will work to encourage the vocation of those from minority groups to serve in positions of senior leadership; and it will be one in which all people can be confident of the welcome that they will receive as they share in worship and ministry with us. We repent of the ways that we have fallen short of that in the past and of our slowness in changing our ways and we continue to look for ways in which we can witness to the all-encompassing love of God and become the transformation that we long to be. ‘Only the Spirit’s power can fit us for this hour’: we pray, ‘Come, Holy Spirit, come!’
The Methodist Church is committed to promoting a culture of inclusion across the Connexion. Find out more about guidance produced for churches including unconscious bias training here.
Read what the Revd Dr Barbara Glasson, President of the Conference, has written on the death of George Floyd and racism, here.
The Belonging Together Ministers Group from the Methodist Church of Great Britain has written to the General Commission on Religion & Race of the United Methodist Church, USA – the counter-part to our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion group, and to the Chair of the Black Church Leaders (UMC) in New York. Read the letter here.
Read also a statement from the All African Council of Churches, one of our partner churches condemning injustice and racism in the USA here.