IGRC Commission on Religion & Race Initial Report


In a recent sermon the pastor stated, “one of the highest calling and highest challenge is to live in community”. He reminded us of the Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood that was so peaceful, however, not many  people lived there! Indeed, when we live in community we live with all the idiosyncrasies of our neighbors. Wow, how do we learn to build relationship and live in community?
Here at our Annual Conference it’s like being at the annual family reunion or big block party. Indeed, the Annual Conference is our coming together in fellowship and relationship. While here we share morning manna, communion, and many meals.  We are building community and relationship.  We learn to breathe together. For these four days, in Peoria, we learn to be the IGRC Beloved Community. This is so significant because this year the family must select a group of delegates to represent us at the General Conference. How will you decide on which brothers and sisters to support? Who has the same views and values as you and the skill to adequately represent IGRC at General Conference?
There are 26 candidates that have offered to serve as Lay Delegates to General and/or Jurisdictional Conference. Sixteen of these candidates are female, several appear to be young adults, one is a youth and three have an ethnic background.  It’s hurtful to realize who is not participating as a potential delegate.   As your congregation’s representative to Annual Conference you need to know these folks so engage these candidates prior to voting. When you see them in the halls or at special meals engage them in conversation. The GCORR and GCSRW have developed and offered questions that will help you discern candidate’s skill and position on issues critical to the church.  Here’s a sample of questions to start the conversation. (sheets available at display table 13).   Mean what you vote.
  • What is your experience with speaking out in emotion-charged meetings? How do you interact in discussions about controversial issues?
  • What does the term ‘an inclusive Church’ mean to you? How have you worked toward making this annual conference more inclusive of women and people of color in leadership?
  • What are the most important issues facing the global UMC? How are you working in and through your own local church to address those issues?
Pam Hammond McDavid, Chair – IGRC Commission on Religion and Race