The congregation at Silver Spring UMC is blessed to include people from all over the country and all over the world. Being a multicultural community enriches our relationships and our worship. The body of Christ is beautifully diverse and radically inclusive, and we strive to reflect that. But it can be challenging. To be a truly inclusive community, we have to talk about power, about race, about ethnicity, about bias, and about the structures set up inside and outside the church that dehumanize our siblings in Jesus.
 
One of our recent conversations about this addressed the Black Lives Matter movement. In 2017, we hosted listening sessions and incorporated reflections about this movement into worship, small groups, and special events. After months of discussion, prayer, and education, we voted to display a Black Lives Matter banner on our building, as a public display of our convictions as a church, and as a way to hold ourselves accountable to continuing these conversations. People were invited to sign the back of the banner to show their support.
 
 
 
CHALLENGE
Silver Spring United Methodist Church recognizes the systems in place in our denomination, our community, and our country that have supported racial injustice and discrimination for centuries. We recognize that these are difficult conversations that require us to seek God’s grace and wisdom in confronting what it means to seek justice and equity in our relationships, our Church, and our community.
 
MISSION STATEMENT
In response to our faith and God’s call to do justice, the Racial Justice Ministry raises awareness about and supports efforts to dismantle systemic racism in the broader Church and in our community through Education, Service, and Advocacy.
 
ACTION AREAS
The RJ Ministry encourages our congregation to actively participate in the three areas below in partnership with our congregation, the interfaith community, and the broader community.
 
EDUCATION
We will raise awareness and engage in learning and dialogue within our congregation and the larger Silver Spring community about the impact of  white privilege, implicit bias, and the history of racial injustice in the United States and its institutions.
SERVICE
We will support the work that the community is already doing to combat systemic racism by providing food, addressing homelessness and domestic
violence, and providing financial support for those in need. We support these and other efforts that address immediate needs as well as structural racism and discrimination.
ADVOCACY
We will advocate for legislative, political, and social change at the local, state, and national levels to dismantle systemic racism and restore justice for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other People of Color.
 
BEYOND THE BANNER
Because God has called us to a life of taking on the suffering of others, because Black lives should matter, yet still don’t; because racism is our original sin, because the church must be all of God, we do the work of racial justice.
 
For more information about our Racial Justice Ministries, please contact a member of the leadership team:  Gladys Baxley @ gbbaxley@comcast.net, Amy Coughenour @ acoughenour@gmail.com, Lennie Smith @ jiggy14@comcast.net or Marie Matthews, Staff Representative @ mmatthews@silverspringumcp.org