Where all are welcome, where all feel welcome, and where diversity is as natural as breathing.
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 toward 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.”
Anti-Racism Common Table
To help coordinate and offer strategic directions for the United Church’s anti-racism work, the Executive of General Council has created an Anti-Racism Common Table. This is a newly established diverse national committee with people from across the church who are working to name tangible ways that the United Church can continue to live into its commitment on anti-racism.
The Anti-Racism Common Table includes membership from the Indigenous church, and it will report to both the Executive of General Council and the National Indigenous Council. This is reflective of the church’s commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Calls to the Church, both of which address racism.
One key area of focus is to develop a national anti-racism action plan for the United Church as a whole. This is a plan for the church that is being developed by people in the church. It is still in an early draft at this point. As soon as the action plan is ready to be share, there will be opportunities for consultation across the church. Every regional council, and many groups across the church, will be invited to offer feedback on the plan. Please stay tuned for more about the action plan and its development!
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