Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, the co-chair of the Ebony Bishops Forum, reads the statement at the Council of Bishops meeting Tuesday, November 06, 2018, as other Ebony bishops including co-chair Bishop Leonard Fairley, Bishop Earl Bledsoe, and others stand in support.Ebony Bishops’ Statement to the Council of Bishops and the People Called United Methodists on the Resurgence of Racism in the United States Adopted by Council of Bishops on November 6, 2018
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4:18 NRSV)
Racism is harmful to all of society. And we are alarmed by its recent resurgence in the United States. In the United States, the culture of racism, white privilege, and white supremacy control the thoughts and actions of Anglos as well as people of color. It is a form of bondage for people of color and Anglo persons alike. Racism is so insidious that often those who are in bondage to it are not even aware of their chains. It is a persistent sin and evil that infects all it touches. We are grieved that a culture of racism is institutionalized even in our beloved denomination.
As disciples of Jesus Christ we, the Ebony Bishops serving the United Methodist Church (UMC), take seriously our charge to continue the work of our Lord and Savior of setting the captives free. Thus, we pledge to continue the work of exposing and dismantling racism in whatever forms and wherever it presents itself. We pledge to hold United Methodists, particularly those in the United States, accountable to engage in education around white supremacy, white privilege, and internalized racism. We recognize that until our Anglo brothers and sisters are free of their racism and acknowledge their White privilege none of us will be free.
In conclusion, as the community of Ebony Bishops in the United Methodist Church, we reaffirm our commitment to our baptismal covenant to renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of our sin. We accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. We do confess Jesus Christ as our Savior. We put our whole trust in his grace and promise to serve him as our Lord, in union with the Church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races.
Media Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications – Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church