Extended Cabinet and Conference Staff issue statement on racism

6/15/2020

The Illinois Great Rivers Extended Cabinet and Conference Staff of the United Methodist Church believe that the Church is the living body of Christ. We are committed to leading the Conference in its call to eradicate racism in any form. We stand on the Biblical foundation that all persons are created by God and all persons are to live without the bondage of fear and alienation as they seek to fully develop their God given gifts. We acknowledge that all United Methodists are called to work toward enhancing attitudinal and systemic changes in whatever forms they are reflecting evil. We affirm our responsibility to embrace the diversity of God’s creativity in breathing life into all, and to work diligently in assisting all communities to move toward being inclusive of all of God’s children. We are called to stand and deliver in every congregation and community the immensity of God’s love for all persons in such a time as this.

We are sorry for our part and seek to repent from the long history of racism and racial discrimination against people of color that is part of our churches and communities. The United Methodist Church has held a strong stance denouncing racism, and we seek to more fully embody this commitment to inclusion and anti-racism. We recognize the implicit bias within ourselves, our congregations, and our Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference. We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to work within us the grace of sanctification so that we might become more holy. We affirm that holiness is more than just personal but also includes societal transformation. In confronting racism, we commit ourselves to do the work of personal study, institutional reform, congregational renewal, and social advocacy. We believe that the lives of black people matter and deserve our intentional focus and commitment to resist the societal and ecclesial threats and barriers to black lives thriving.

As people called by God to build and nurture institutions representative of God’s shalom, we call upon our members, friends, institutions, and partners to engage in acts that build God’s peaceable kingdom on Earth. Towards this end we encourage local congregations to explore root causes of racism; develop local partnerships to address and redress current racism both locally and nationally; prayerfully seek God’s will for reconciliation based on acts of repentance for American racism, and embrace faith-based education for all ages on anti-racism.

Frank Beard, Bishop of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference

Janice Griffith, Executive Assistant to the Bishop

Carol Lakota Eastin, Co-Dean of Cabinet and Kaskaskia River District Superintendent

Mary Kathryn Pearce, Co-Dean of Cabinet and Illinois River District Superintendent

James Barnett, Vermillion River District Superintendent

Stan Irvin, Cache River District Superintendent

Stephen Granadosin, Spoon River District Superintendent

Angie Lee, Iroquois River District Superintendent

Charliam Renner, Embarras River District Superintendent

NIcholas Showalter, LaMoine River District Superintendent

Allynn Walker, Mississippi River District Superintendent

Bradley Watkins, Sangamon River District Superintendent

Paul Black, Director of Communications

Curtis Brown, Director of Connectional Ministries

Mike Potts, Director of Finance and Administration

Mike Crawford, Coordinator of Congregational Development

Beth Fender, Coordinator of Discipleship and New Streams

Curt Franklin, Associate Coordinator of Camping and Youth Ministry

Patric Newton, Coordinator of Camping, Retreat, and Youth Ministries

Amy Shreve, Coordinator for Higher Education, Campus, and Young Adult Ministry and Associate Coordinator for Congregational Development

Shauna Summers, Coordinator, Office of Pastoral Care and Counseling

Download Statement from the Council of Bishops

Download Statement from the North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops