Justice Journey - Spring 2023
This Spring, Campus Connect invites you to take a “Justice Journey”. The goal of Justice Journey is to deepen our understanding of systemic injustice and take steps towards engaging in a faith-filled response. Broken systems can feel overwhelming, but we each have a part to play in bringing reconciliation.
The Justice Journey has three main components: 1) a class, 2) a trip, and 3) a summit. The class will be held on Wednesdays, 6 p.m. at Saint Paul, January 25-March 8. Everyone is invited, student and non-student alike, to join us as we humbly approach topics like racism during school integration, Japanese internment camps during WWII, the Tulsa Massacre and Black Wall Street, Indigenous boarding schools, and more. Each class will be a different topic and you are invited to one or all over the seven weeks.
Next is the Justice Journey trip. Over spring break ten students will be traveling to Little Rock, Arkansas to learn about school integration, then McGehee, Arkansas to the Japanese Internment camp, then Tulsa, OK to the Black Wall Street Museum, and finally to Genoa, NE to visit the indigenous boarding school. These students will record their experiences and share them upon return.
Finally, we will host a Justice Summit on Tuesday, March 28, 7 p.m. at Saint Paul UMC. Here we will partner with the community to understand some of the continuing systemic injustices in our own city. We will also have Rev. Dominique Gilliard, author of Rethinking Incarceration and Subversive Witness, lead us as the keynote speaker. Everyone is invited to participate and learn more about how we can help bring peace and reconciliation to Lincoln.
What We Believe - God's Love for ALL
- The United Methodist Church affirms “that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons” in the denomination’s Social Principles. The Church affirms that all people are of sacred worth and are equally valuable in the sight of God. It is committed to be in ministry with all people.
At the 2016 General Conference, the Council of Bishops proposed that a commission review every paragraph of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality. In February 2019, delegates to the Special Session of General Conference voted to uphold the church’s statements about homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ persons.
- The United Methodist Church recognizes, embraces, and affirms all persons, regardless of country of origin, as members of the family of God. We urge society to “recognize the gifts, contributions, and struggles of those who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all.
- We recognize racism as a sin. We commit to challenging unjust systems of power and access. We will work for equal and equitable opportunities in employment and promotion, education and training; in voting, access to public accommodations, and housing; to credit, loans, venture capital, and insurance; to positions of leadership and power in all elements of our life together; and to full participation in the Church and society.
- God unconditionally loves women and children of all nationalities, ethnicities, races, abilities, socio-economic statuses, gender identities and sexual orientations. We understand our gender diversity to be a gift from God, intended to add to the rich variety of human experience and perspective; and we guard against attitudes and traditions that would use this good gift to leave members of one sex more vulnerable in relationships than members of another.
Saint Paul for Racial Justice
We recognize racism as a sin. We commit to challenging unjust systems of power and access. We will work for equal and equitable opportunities in employment and promotion, education and training; in voting, access to public accommodations, and housing; to credit, loans, venture capital, and insurance; to positions of leadership and power in all elements of our life together; and to full participation in the Church and society.
America has awakened to issues surrounding racial and social justice not experienced since the civil rights movement. As a country, a state, a city and a church, we are questioning how to promote racial justice. Is progress being made toward acting in ways that promote equity among all people?
- Pray – Ask God to show you the truth of our sin and how we might become agents of God’s justice, mercy, love and re-creation. Cry out to God for guidance. Listen for the voice of Jesus in meditation, Bible study, worship and conversation to guide our ways.
- Connect – Talk to people within and beyond the church who are doing anti-racism well. Ask questions. Listen and respect diverse voices. Learn how and where racism shows in your community and how others are harmed by its effects. Harness United Methodist and other resources that address institutional racism.
- Show Up – Be present to the pain of another. Attend a prayer vigil. Join a demonstration. Organize a church school class to read, discuss, and respond to institutional racism. Tell church leaders, community leaders and elected officials that you want to learn and help with dismantling racism in your community.
- Act – Support cross-racial/cross-cultural ministries in your area. Preach and teach about the harm racism does and how it offends God. Harness the Holy Spirit anointing to rid your congregation and ministry settings of all vestiges of institutional racial bias. Challenge your bishop, mayor, governor, police chief, or other elected officials to encode anti-racism policies and practices. Join the ongoing work for racial justice in the church and world.
While the headlines may have receded, the sin of racism continues to be seen and felt on both individual and systemic levels. Dismantling racism is not a short-term task but a lifelong moving forward to perfection in love. Therefore, Discipleship Ministries and other agencies and bodies of The United Methodist Church will continue to provide resources and guidance on how to become anti-racist individuals and churches. Please seek out the help you need to maintain your efforts to transform your community into an anti-racist fellowship.
To subscribe to daily prayers for anti racism click here.
Racial Justice Speakers Series
These four seminars will examine the history of race and racism in America, the experiences of racial minorities in the United Methodist Church and the City of Lincoln, and the ways parents deal with race in raising their children. This series will highlight how people might expand the dialogue about race relations now and in the future.
Saint Paul Justice & Mercy Team FAQ
- Presence at the state capital for justice gatherings on topics such as immigration and racial injustice
- Representation on community partnership boards working for justice
- Speakers, classes and forums to educate on justice issues
- Preaching justice
- SP supports (financially and through participation) the Interfaith Peacemaking Coalition yearly workshop.
- We have placed yard signs in member’s homes which address justice issues to let community know we are sharing God’s Love for all in acts of justice.
We have gained new members through our efforts at justice as people have seen our witness with PRIDE festival and our rainbow banners outside the church. Each have told stories of their previous exile from churches due to homophobic or shame-based theology. They have found new life and new connection to God through the welcoming of Saint Paul UMC.
- Saint Paul has undergone a new visioning process with the guidance of the Unstuck Church Group. One of the areas of our focus for growth is in Mercy and Justice. We have formed a strategic planning team which will be leading the congregation into greater justice-centered mission practices.
- We will begin with a foundation of deepening our own understanding of lovingkindness. All justice work must be grounded in love (open hearts).
- Next we will educate ourselves and the congregation around justice and the biblical mandate (open minds).
- Finally, we will go forward into the world beyond our doors to do acts of justice (open doors).
Our strategic planning team has identified three areas for our focus: racial justice, ecological justice, and health care. Each of these areas will be resourced and ministry teams will be formed to engage the congregation in love, education and action. We will schedule our efforts strategically by launching one at a time and building support before adding the next.