The United Church of Canada and The United Church of Christ USA are jointly launching a commitment to the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, which runs 2015–2024.

Nora Sanders, General Secretary of General Council, says, “I was excited when the senior leaders from both churches decided to focus on the UN Decade as part of our joint mission work. I also appreciate that our federal government recognizes that the UN Decade is important work for us all.” Sanders reflects that “this represents a significant exploration of building racially just communities together.”

“The International Decade comes at an important time in our history as we strive to bring healing to our communities,” adds Michael Blair, Executive Minister of the Church in Mission Unit. “I look forward to possibilities in both our church and society.”

The two churches are not the only bodies who have committed to the UN Decade. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that the Government of Canada will officially recognize the decade, and remarked that Canadians must realize that anti-Black racism and unconscious bias do exist in this country.

The UN identifies people of African descent as a group whose rights need to be “protected and promoted.” As part of our full communion agreement, The United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ will work together on strategies to address that through common resources and liturgies that advance racial justice, intercultural commitments, equity, and diversity. Watch for more resources, including a feature article in the winter 2018 edition of Mandate.