Colleagues in Christ,
As we continue to witness and experience the sin of racism in our society and our church, I have requested the formation of an Anti-Racism Leadership Team in the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church. I see this team as a critical component for the work of becoming fully anti-racist at all levels of ministry in the Iowa Conference. Because we live in a culture that is so resistant to and uncomfortable with discussions of racism, I feel it is imperative to create a team that has anti-racism as its primary focus. Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence, will facilitate this team as a child team of the Transformational Leadership L3 Operational Team.
With the charge of creating a Pathway toward a fully anti-racist conference, it is my hope there can be developed a plan with various points of entry for individuals and communities of faith as we pursue comprehensive change throughout the Iowa Conference. I understand anti-racism to be an active process of identifying, evaluating, and changing systems, organizational structures, policies, practices, and attitudes and is inclusive of the analysis of the intersectionality of various forms of power and oppression at work in our society, church, and lives.
Although there are many reasons why such an initiative is important, let me share a few of the most significant that speak to the Iowa Conference, whether we find ourselves in urban, suburban, town, or country areas.
● Build compassionate relationships that facilitate honest and courageous conversations about our racial identities and experiences.
● Equip our clergy, laity, and congregations to do anti-racism and equity work within their communities.
● Deepen our understanding of our own (individual and corporate) complicity and cultivate spaces and opportunities for learning, confession, and action.
Throughout July, Lanette will be reaching out to our caucuses, advocates, boards, and agencies as this team is formed. While the formation does not preclude the work of any of these aforementioned groups, it is our hope that the Anti-Racism Leadership Team would include representation from the many communities that currently live and serve as laity and clergy in the Iowa Conference. We are pursuing recommendations from each group so that we can be intentional about the way clergy/laity, orders/fellowship (elders, deacons, associate members, and local pastors), gender, ethnicity, race, theology, and experience are represented in this leadership team.
If you would like to nominate yourself or another to this team, please contact Lanette at firstname.lastname@example.org