“As Christians, we must root out fear, and commit to … practices that help us to ground our actions … in love.” — former Moderator Jordan Cantwell

Living Cross stained glass
Credit: Sarah Hall

What We Believe

The United Church of Canada has made a commitment to becoming an anti-racist denomination. A short document, “Working Towards Becoming an Anti-Racist Denomination,” explains more about what this commitment might mean. People in the church are working on frameworks and strategic directions—including ways to involve of the whole church—to continue to deepen the church’s anti-racism work.

This anti-racist commitment is part of the church’s ongoing work toward racial justice.

The United Church of Canada has a long history of condemning racism: For decades, the United Church has condemned all forms of racism, named racism as sin, and worked to eliminate systemic racial discrimination. People in the United Church have developed anti-racism policies and education programs, worked towards reconciliation and Indigenous justice, adopted the Calls to the Church, and created intercultural policies and initiatives. In spite of this steadfast and faithful work by committed people over generations, the reality of racism in the church is ever-present.
―Working Towards Becoming an Anti-Racist Denomination

The United Church of Canada’s anti-racism policy, That All May Be One, names four key areas of work:

  • Organize for the full participation of all peoples.
  • Organize for diversity by supporting anti-racism work and promoting positive relationships among diverse peoples.
  • Act justly within the church’s structures, courts, policies, and practice.
  • Speak to the world by supporting anti-racism work within broader society.

Our commitment to racial justice includes building right relationships with our neighbours, particularly reconciliation between non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples. It means engaging in interfaith dialogue and speaking out against violence and discrimination rooted in racial and religious bigotry, including Islamophobia and antisemitism. It finds expression in our intercultural vision. It means having the courage to talk about racism and White privilege in our church and in our society.

As Moderator Jordan Cantwell put it in 2017, “We need to name and examine our fears, prejudices, and assumptions. The privilege that many of us are born with may desensitize us to the injustice, exclusion, and hate that some in our community experience on a daily basis.” Only in that way can we build, as “That All May Be One” envisioned, a church and society “where all are welcome, where all feel welcome, and where diversity is as natural as breathing.”

What You Can Do

UN International Decade for People of African Descent

Logo: UN International Decade for People of African Descent
The United Church of Canada supports the International Decade for People of African Descent.

The United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ (USA) are jointly participating in the UN International Decade for People of African Descent (2015–2024).

2020 Prayer Cycle

2020 marks the midway point of the UN Decade. We invite people to pray throughout 2020 for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of people of African descent. Explore the resources under Downloads, below.

Follow the United Church on Facebook and Twitter to virtually participate in our Prayer Cycle. Consider amplifying these prayers or sharing your own on social media (use the hashtags #AfricanDescent, #UCCan, #UCC).

Challenging White Privilege

The United Church of Canada’s White Privilege Working Group is part of the church’s movement to becoming an intercultural church, the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, and our commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Alongside the church’s commitment to anti-racism and to challenging anti-Black racism, identifying, understanding, and dismantling White privilege has been prioritized by the church.

Many resources are available for worship, study, and reflection. A small sampling is available below and under Downloads.

Worship

Communities of faith may wish to plan a time of worship and prayer related to anti-racism. It may be helpful to view the online worship service United against Racism, which was hosted by the Black Clergy Network of the United Church on June 14, 2020 (video embedded above).

Other resources for reflecting on anti-racism in worship include

Reflection and Learning: United Church

Reflection and Learning: Ecumenical

For more information, please contact:

Emelito Yango
Identity and Mission Network Coordinator
eyango@united-church.ca
416-231-7680 x4522
1-800-268-3781 x4522

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