Canada is often ranked as “the best place to live.” We often perceive Canada to be a friendly and accepting place. But for some it is a place where they experience racism.
Racism is a system of oppression. It is fed by individual and collective attitudes, and by actions that discriminate against, oppress, exclude, and limit ethnic groups based on their race and/or colour of their skin. It is also a system of privilege that gives White people in North America unearned economic, social, political, and cultural advantages.
The United Church has taken a strong stand on racism. In 2000, building on a long tradition of engagement in social justice and human rights issues, and recognizing the need to address racism within and outside ourselves, the church adopted the Anti-Racism Policy That All May Be One (see selected excerpts).
We believe our creator acknowledges our equality as human beings, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). For this reason we are committed to inclusiveness and the full and equal participation in ministry of all persons, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation.
The United Church is concerned with the racial tensions Canada-wide. Racism experienced by First Nation’s peoples (e.g. Oka in the 1990s, and the Site C dam) and by Afro-Canadians (e.g. carded by police) are deeply troubling. As a church we are called to be in solidarity with the discriminated and oppressed peoples of Canada.
Our church family is endowed with racial, cultural, and ethnic differences which we must cherish and celebrate. As in any family, love of God and of each other, commitment and responsibility toward one another, must dominate our lives.
Over the coming months, personal stories, experiences, and reflections, written by racialized and White people in The United Church of Canada, will be posted on this blog. We hope to post one-per-week, so tell your friends and congregations, and be sure to follow the blog!
What You Can Do:
- Participate in an online racial justice workshop - open to lay and clergy
- Participate in a Deepening Understanding for Intercultural Ministry program
- Get involved with reconciliation and Indigenous justice
- Sankofa: Histories and Heritages of Black Peoples in the United Church (video and study guide)
- The Canadian Council of Churches resource Cracking Open White Privilege
- White Privilege: Let's Talk—A Resource for Transformational Dialogue a United Church of Christ curriculum.
- World Council of Churches: integrating the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace into the work of racial justice and Black Lives Matter
- Ecumenical Resources that address anti-racism work
If you are interested in submitting a piece for this blog, please contact jsullivan [at] united-church.ca (Jordan Sullivan) to request criteria and guidelines.