For all of you are the children of God. —Galatians 3:28
Each person is created in the image of God. But whenever we devise, maintain or perpetuate systems and structures that oppress people based on race and/or ethnicity, we interfere with God's purpose and the opportunity for all God's children to be fully who they are created to be. Racism is an affront to God.
Racism is racial prejudice plus power. It is rooted in the belief that one group has racial superiority and entitlement over others. Its power is manifested in every institution and system, both nationally and internationally, which was historically established and continues to function to benefit one group of people to the disadvantage of other groups. Awareness and education will help us to become anti-racist individuals and foster the development of anti-racist systems and institutions that can eliminate privilege for some and oppression for others.
The United Church of Christ and its predecessor churches have made a priority commitment to supporting policies and structures that make real our Christian commitment to racial justice. The UCC's emphasis means more than simply challenging personal prejudices, but involves a commitment to in-depth analysis of societal policies and structures that either work toward the elimination of racism or perpetuate it.
How to Engage
The United Church of Christ has a long history of working towards Racial Justice. Click on one of following for more information on what the UCC is doing and how YOU can get involved:
- Why Black Lives Matter
- A Pastoral Letter on Racism: A New Awakening - January 2015
- Sacred Conversation on Race
- Intersections: Racism and ...
- Connecticut Conference Racial Justice Ministry
- New York Conference Sacred Conversations on Race
- Eastern Ohio Western Reserve Association Anti-Racism Prophetic Witness Team
"I Will Not Keep Silent": Seven Days of MLK
For a people and a place that have been deemed “Forsaken” and “Desolate,” the prophet Isaiah declares, “I will not keep silent.” From biblical times until today, prophets have refused to be silent in the face of violence and injustice. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one such prophet, but, sadly, the full power of his voice is often muted and silenced today, despite the praise and adoration he receives on his birthday. All too frequently, celebrations of King’s life present us with a de-radicalized King. We hear snippets of his “I Have a Dream” speech, but we do not hear his more prophetic and penetrating critiques of racism, militarism, and capitalism. To counter this tendency, seven Justice and Witness staff members will introduce a different speech, sermon, or writing from King over the course of seven days with the final day being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In addition to these introductions, a resource page of often overlooked speeches and sermons by King has been created along with a lectionary reflection on Isaiah 62:1-5 for Sunday, January 17th. Learn more.
Prayers for Racial Justice
Since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, a collective of UCC faith leaders from across the country have gathered on conference calls convened by the Rev. Geoffrey Black. They share about the on-going efforts at local and conference settings to keep people mobilized and engaged in countering institutional racism and sanctioned violence. And they seek to identify all-Church initiatives with course of actions that can make a difference over time. They have recommended Sunday, August 9, 2015, the actual anniversary of Mike Brown’s death, as a time for the UCC to pray together for racial justice, and have prepared a variety of prayers for use by congregations. These prayers may be adapted and used not only on this day, but on other days and in other settings in which people gather to pray and witness to justice for all who suffer the violence of racial injustice.
- Call to Worship - Dorhauer
- Call to Worship - Jefferson
- Children's Sermon Starters - Wood
- Litany on Gun Violence - Byrne
- Pastoral Prayer - Jefferson
- Prayer of Confession - Jefferson
- Prayer of Confession - Fairman
- Prayer of Lament - Fennema
- Charge to Community Action - Fennema
General Synod Policy Statements on Racial Justice
The foundation of our work rests on the policy statements made by the General Synod of the United Church of Christ. During General Synod 23 an addendum was added to 1993 Pronouncement calling the UCC to become a Multiracial, Multicultural Church. The addendum called the UCC to also become an "Anti-Racist" denomination. In doing so, we encourage all Conferences and Associations and local churches of the UCC to adopt anti-racism mandates, including policy that encourages anti-racism programs for all UCC staff and volunteers.
- 1993 Multiracial Multicultural Church Pronouncement
- 2003 Anti-Racist Church Addendum to the Pronouncment