Written by Gregg Brekke
Members of the World Council of Churches will convene at UCC national offices in Cleveland Aug. 26-29 to discuss rationale for continued ecumenical engagement in churches' attitudes and responses to racism.
In view of the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation, to take place in Kingston, Jamaica, in May 2011, a reflection on just peace from the perspective of those struggling against racism and caste-based discrimination will also be on the agenda of the conference in Cleveland.
Hosted by the UCC, the conference is organized in cooperation with the Dutch missionary and diaconal agency Kerk in Actie.
While the struggle against racism has been a formative and highly visible priority for the ecumenical movement in the past, diverging views have developed as to whether churches should pursue the issue.
Some 30 participants, each engaged in churches' anti-racism work in various parts of the world, will look into creative ways in which churches can continue to foster just and inclusive communities. They will also consider what churches stand to gain from continued engagement.
Special attention will be paid to the presence of racism within the churches and the indifference of many Christians not personally affected by discrimination. One issue is whether latent racism in established Christian communities is driving migrants to form churches based on racial and ethnic identities.