At a specially-called congregational meeting on August 4, 2019, the congregation voted to adopt a resolution “University Congregational United Church of Christ is Called to be a Racial Justice Church.” The meeting and discussion, which lasted over 1½ hours, contained questions, concerns, powerful testimony from people of color in the congregation about treatment and experiences, and hope for continuing awareness, work, commitment, education, and action on the part of individuals and the congregation.
The resolution was initiated by a coalition of UCUCC youth with a commitment to racial justice, led by Graham George and Emma Browning. A partnership of the Graham and Emma with others from the Racial Justice Task Force led the process for the congregation to address the resolution.
In the declaration, the congregation:
“acknowledge(s) that there are many ways in which we, as a congregation, take part in the systemic racism that exists in our society and our church. We affirm that as people of faith and followers of Jesus, we are called to work in our understanding of systemic racism, and to work in ways both in and outside the church to change those systems and ourselves. We acknowledge that while our journey in this work has begun, many steps are still to be taken. We are called to take strides in self-awareness, in community learning, and to be a voice with others in witness to our faith.”
displaying a Black Lives Matter banner, developing benchmarks for progress, engaging in direct action, confronting our own history and present, continuing our involvements with others committed to racial justice, developing a process of accountability, and identifying financial support to continue this work.
Members made this commitment:
“and continue on this journey knowing that our work will be imperfect and incomplete, yet also knowing that it is crucial that we make bold and courageous steps, call on God’s love and grace for ourselves and each other when we fall short, and move forward secure in the knowledge that God is calling us to be on this sacred journey of honesty, commitment, passion and hope.”
The thoughtful, heartfelt, challenging, honest, aspirational comments and reflections indicated an understanding that this is a long-term commitment, and one to share with each other and more broadly. Those interested in helping lead this work are encouraged to contact Catherine Foote (gro.ccuytisrevinu@etoofc), Toni Higgs (moc.liamtoh@sggihinot or 206-523-9076) or Ginger Warfield (moc.cam@dleifrawv or 206-525-0175).
Following the meeting, Graham George and Emma Browning worked with church administrator David Anderson in displaying Black Lives Matter banner. It was the first step of a continuing journey.