Mennonite Church USA hosts panel discussion on dismantling racism

Race Church Change panelistsBy MC USA staff

(Mennonite Church USA) — The leadership team of Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) is hosting Race, Church and Changean interactive panel discussion on the impact of racism in the church and meaningful approaches to dismantling it. Featuring a diverse panel of speakers, the online event will be held via Zoom (and simultaneously broadcast via Facebook Live) on Thursday, June 25 from 6:30-8 p.m. EDT /3:30-5 p.m. PDT. Participants may submit questions for the panelists ahead of time when they register hereSpanish interpretation will be available.  

“Dismantling racism has been an ongoing conversation in the church,” said Sue Park-Hur, MC USA denominational minister of Transformative Peacemaking, “but now it is time to engage the broader church in this discussion and to move beyond symbolic action to achieve meaningful change.” 

Iris de León-Hartshorn, associate executive director of MC USA, will facilitate the conversation, which will explore the following topics: 

  • How racism is manifested in the church 
  • The impact of culture on worship, leadership, and expectations in our congregations 
  • Dismantling racism: What works and what does not 

The panel of speakers includes: 

  • Glen Guytonfirst African American executive director of MC USA, ordained minister and keynote speaker/consultant on diversity and inclusion 
  • Felipe Hinojosa, associate professor in the Department of History at Texas A&M University’s College of Liberal Artseditor for the interdisciplinary online academic forum Latinx Talk and author of Latino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith and Evangelical Culture 
  • Sue Park-Hur, MC USA denominational minister of Transformative Peacemaking and founder of ReconciliAsian, a peace center in Los Angeles specializing in conflict transformation and restorative justice for immigrant churches 
  • Erica Littlewolf, from the Northern Cheyenne tribe of southeastern Montana, works for Mennonite Central Committee Central States with the Indigenous Visioning Circle where she is committed to the work of decolonization, authentic relationship and healing 
  • Tobin Miller Shearer, professor of History, director of Undergraduate Studiesdirector of African American Studies at the University of Montana and author of several books on racism, including Daily Demonstrators: The Civil Rights Movement in Mennonite Homes and Sanctuaries  

All people who are part of MC USA are encouraged to participate and/or view the panel discussion.  

“We are all part of the larger church body and have a role in decisionmaking at some level,” said Park-Hur. “This conversation is a way for members to engage with church leadership and also to expand their cultural intelligence, particularly if they live in mono-cultural areas.”     

The Race, Church and Change panel discussion is part of the denomination’s #BringThePeace initiative. #BringThePeace is a call to action for individuals and congregations to extend peace in their communities. It is also a prayer inviting God to bring the peace that expands our capacity for empathy, compassion and love that actively seeks to dismantle oppression and violence. Learn more at mennoniteusa.org/bringthepeace. 

For more information on MC USA’s peacebuilding efforts, visit http://mennoniteusa.org/what-we-do/peacebuilding/ 

To donate to the MC USA Justice Fund to support churches who are actively engaging with their communities to dismantle racismclick here and designate your donation for the Justice Fund.  

Mennonite Church USA is the largest Mennonite denomination in the United States with 16 conferences, approximately 530 congregations and 62,000 members. An Anabaptist Christian denomination, MC USA is part of Mennonite World Conference, a global faith family that includes churches in 86 countries. It has offices in Elkhart, Indiana and Newton, Kansas.  mennoniteUSA.org 

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2 thoughts on “Mennonite Church USA hosts panel discussion on dismantling racism

  1. Racism starts in the heart but is perpetrated most egregiously via economic policies. Our elected officials on both side of the only aisle, claim to be people of faith, yet pass laws that are benefiting the top wealthiest of our societies. Why is it that CEOs are allowed to make millions and share holders are allowed to make billions, and the tax codes benefit them the most? Raise the minimum wage, health insurance for all, college for all. Why is it Socialism when it benefits the little people but a Bailout for Corporations and Wall Street? These politicians are going to houses of worship that DO NOT promote Jesus’ teachings!! That needs to be first and foremost.

  2. I am interested in the seminar. Please keep me posted as to the time and link to join.

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