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.
Silver Spring United Methodist Church recognizes the systems in place that have supported discrimination for centuries and the racial justice ministry works to raise awareness of and dismantle those systems through action, education, and advisory.
THREE BRANCHES OF WORK
We recognize the work that Silver Spring is already doing as combating systemic racism in providing food, addressing homelessness and domestic violence, and providing financially for those in need. We seek to add actions to Silver Spring UMC’s ministries that address additional issues facing people of color.
We seek to teach our congregation and the larger Silver Spring community about white privilege, implicit bias, and the history of racial injustice. We will do this on our own and partnering in local education organizations.
We will advise the council on ministries at Silver Spring UMC in issues regarding racial injustice and how to become a more racially aware congregation. We will also assist in providing educational and actionable resources to the church website.
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 (Education), Lenny Smith (Action) Marilyn Whitted (Advocacy) or Marie Matthews (Staff Representative).