ANW Conference President Dr. Kathy Yamashita spoke these words at the close of the September 27-28th’s Intercultural Ministry Education Event in Edmonton. You’ll find more Intercultural Ministry Education Reflections here
About racism in the United Church: Our church is a microcosm of society and we should not be so surprised that racism exists within our denomination, for all its good intentions.
We who have demonstrated an interest in racial justice have learned some skills in the past two days. We have learned that there is black fire and white fire in the meaning of any text. We should read everything critically to better understand the intent of any writing. We understand that the Christian story is not static, but that it carries within it the varied streams and stories of a mighty moving river. We must read our own Bible stories very critically to more clearly understand what Jesus calls us to see.
We learned about the gifts of people without power who have accompanied the powerful leaders in the Bible stories. Accompaniment may be graceful, abrasive or downright rude. It has always been the job of the racialized people to go out of our comfort zone to speak about injustice and to try to effect change. It is only being present to each other that can accomplish any change. I pray that, like dandelions, racialized church members take strong root, stay faithful and spread their perspective and experiences to others in our denomination.