The United Church of Christ and the United Church of Canada, coming together to celebrate the contributions of people of African descent worldwide, are launching a joint commitment to the United Nations resolution on the issue with an introductory video released during Black History Month.
"I was pleased when I heard the United Nations had declared via resolution, the International Decade for People of African Descent - 2015-2024, during a 2013 general assembly," said Bentley de Bardelaben, executive associate minister, UCC Justice & Local Church Ministries. "Additionally, while meeting together to discuss joint mission ventures, I became further excited when some senior staff members within the national settings of the United Church of Christ and the United Church of Canada agreed to work in partnership to explore how we might encourage our member churches to partake in an in-depth study about the plight of peoples of the African Diaspora and their descendants."
Around 200 million people identifying themselves as being of African descent live in the Americas. Many millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent.
The U.N. identifies African descendant people as a group whose rights need to be "protected and promoted." As part of their full communion agreement, the two churches are working on strategies to address that through common resources and liturgies that advance social justice and inclusion policies, end racism and intolerance, and promote sustainable development.
"Our two churches have long been strong advocates for justice in bi-national contexts and found the framework of the Decade to be a time for amplifying the on-going challenges presented to African descendant people," said the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, the UCC's ecumenical officer. "The Decade provides a global platform for the United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ to address the systemic issues that contribute to racial injustice, as we work toward a just world for all."
Please look for UCC-UC Canada church resources coming in March.