Religion and Race Monitoring -- Final Report for Annual Conference 2011
Greetings in the name of Christ:
“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the Gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3)
As Paul says, I give thanks for you and I celebrate the work God is doing in all of our lives. As God continues to perfect us we are called to face, name, and confront our failures of living into diversity and inclusiveness, at the same time, rejoicing in our victories.
The Commission on Religion and Race submits the following report.
We celebrate the depth of the prophetic word heard in our times of worship. Upbeat, worshipful music was reviving and renewing. However, in areas other than proclaiming the Word, there was little to no presence of persons of color, or youth/young adults.
Each plenary challenged the body to inclusiveness, to move out of one’s comfort zone, and embrace the beauty and richness of diversity, as well as being contextual in our ministries, and we encourage all of God’s children to be contextual in all ways of thinking. We must become more culturally competent if we are to be truly hospitable in all situations.
We are concerned by a couple of instances of disrespectful behavior. We are grateful for the sensitivity displayed, though late in the process, as an individual rightfully pointed out that diversity is not only gender, race, ethnicity, but also Orders (Elders, Deacons, Local Pastors). The body was reminded of the lack of diversity in the election process. We noted that rarely did anyone of color or young adults speak on the floor. The majority of conversation was dominated almost equally by white males and females with the occasional voice of an African, African American, or an Asian.
Our Asian, Hispanic, and Native American brothers and sisters were rarely visible.
Lay delegates elected to General Conference consist of 50% male (3) and 50% female (3). Of the lay delegates elected, 16.6% (1) are young adults and 16.6% (1) persons of color. Clergy delegates elected to General Conference consist of 33.2% female (2) and 66.8% male (4). Of the clergy delegates elected, 16.6% (1) are persons of color. Elected alternates include 2 white males.
Lay delegates elected to Jurisdictional Conference consist of 33.2% male (2) and 66.8% female (4). Of the lay delegates elected, 33.2% (2) are young adults and 33.2%% (2) persons of color. Clergy delegates elected to Jurisdictional Conference consist of 33.2%% female (2) and 66.8% male (4). Of the clergy delegates elected, 16.6% (1) are persons of color. Elected alternates include 1 white male and 1 Native American female.
We strongly affirm the active participation of our young people in our Annual Conference work.
We also strongly affirm our blessed relationship with our Liberian brothers and sisters and encourage the work and ministry to continue.
We were blessed with the music of the drum, the heartbeat, shared by our Native American brothers and sisters. It was indeed a gift.
-- Submitted by the Conference Religion and Race Team