May 24, 2021
We, the undersigned staff members of Manchester United Methodist Church, express our support of truthful education regarding the history of race and racism in our nation and around the world. In order to avoid repeating the atrocities of the past, we must be honest about how racial injustice has impacted the lives of so many for so long.
We believe that education is a shared responsibility among schools, families, and the faith community. Healthy collaboration among various constituencies results in a well-rounded learning experience for students of all ages. We urge families to be engaged in their children’s education in ways that demonstrate respect and foster healthy learning environments.
We trust professional educators to use their knowledge and training to teach their students about the generational harm of racism in age-appropriate ways. At the same time, we seek to hold professional educators accountable through established processes, and denounce verbal threats and other hateful speech directed at teachers or administrators, from any source.
We confess our own participation in a system with a history of racism, including a schism over slavery that was not reconciled until over seventy years after the end of the civil war. The plan for reconciliation included the creation of a racially segregated jurisdiction of the church, composed solely of African American congregations. This structural segregation was not eliminated until 1968, and its effects are still being felt in our denomination.
We believe that it is best to teach and learn the fullest possible truth about our past, even when learning about particular parts of the past may cause discomfort, disillusionment, and disappointment. As such, we support the Rockwood School District in their efforts to include instruction on the ways racism has impacted the history of our nation.
We will continue to prioritize respectful, grace-filled dialogue and model healthy communication in the midst of conflict. We can disagree with one another openly and honestly without succumbing to the polarizing vitriol that seems to have become a pattern of community discourse. We believe that we can make a difference in our community not just by being engaged, but by the tone we set in our engagement.
Rev. Andy Bryan, Rev. Stephanie Lendt, Rev. Phil Estes, Rev. Winter Hamilton,
Rev. Jim Peich, Chessey Brenton, Beth Boemler, Nick Reinhardt
Manchester United Methodist Church
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