Inclusion/Diversity


Methodist church in Oklahoma

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Found on the website of the United Methodist Church: Leadership Summit: Conversations

Q: With the world, especially the United States, being a more diverse place, what can we do to harness the diverse nature of society to be a more welcoming place for that diversity? We embrace diversity but struggle with making it a reality in our local United Methodist churches (for instance, interracial, married/other couples).

A. The United Methodist Church and, in particular, local churches struggle to reflect the ever-growing diversity that we see in the United States and globally. We have an organizational culture that enforces practices that hinder the church from growing with the diversity around us. Examples of such practices include congregations that are allowed to refuse a person of color or a woman as pastor without being challenged; clergy of all colors who are not expected to develop their awareness, skills and experiences in building relationships across cultures; and conference leaders who continue to treat ethnic ministries and young people’s ministry as “special interests.” [Such practices] perpetuate the barriers to living our value of diversity. Creating a new culture institutionally, which makes reflecting the diversity of the world while transforming it for Christ a priority, is one action we can take. Raising the expectations for clergy and other leaders to model cultural competency and a commitment to social justice; creating and supporting models of ministry that are outside of our cultural norms; and showing visible support for clergy and lay leaders who challenge oppression, bigotry and discrimination in the church and the world are a few things we can do to continue the journey toward being a more inclusive church.

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