In 2020, the Racial Justice and Ethnic Equity Task Force team was created and began meeting regularly to develop a mandate and begin research. Initially, they met with denominational leaders from outside the FMCiC who invited them to listen to stories and process the various experiences of their diversity and anti racism task forces. The group spent time talking, praying and reading as they narrowed down their focus. The conversations were rich and demonstrated the diversity of opinions and approaches that people from varied backgrounds and education take when considering the work of racial justice.
The first task the team tackled was their name which was initially the Anti RacismTask Force to and became the Racial Justice and Ethnic EquityTask Force. The team wanted to ensure that while they are communicating the need to end racism, they ought to help individuals move away from the notion that “race” is real. In other words, we are humans, created in the image of God and it is this understanding that we should be pointing one another towards with the hope that it will lead us towards a more just and equitable society for all, regardless of distinctives, culture, language and ethnicity. This focus is not to point us towards the problematic idea of “colour blindness”, but rather it is intended to invite one another to acknowledge, celebrate, validate and declare that the beautiful design of diverse communities, skin tones, ethnicities, practices and relationships is God-breathed.
Secondly, they determined that the overarching goal is biblical shalom that extends from church leadership, both nationally and locally, ushering in the possibility of transformation that leads to racial and ethnic diversity, inclusion and equity into the neighbourhoods where we live and minister.
Thirdly, they created objectives that are intended to help put the mandate into practice and keep the team focused on specific tasks.
The RJEE Task Force will offer recommendations to the Free Methodist Church in Canada (FMCiC) Intercultural Engagement Team (IET) and the Board of Administration (BOA) to empower our leaders and congregations to address the reality of racism in all its forms and the need to intentionally implement a justice and equity strategy that rejects systemic racism.
Our goal is that our movement would embody ethnic diversity, conciliation, and deep intercultural relationships as necessary markers of biblical shalom.
Our objectives will be to:
Evaluate the FMCiC’s theological and policy statements regarding racial and ethnic diversity, equality and equity.
Recommend specific changes or insertions to theological and policy statements that lead to the intentional implementation of racial justice and ethnic equity.
Explore opportunities for adjustments to FMCiC denominational systems, with the goal of providing equitable pathways for racialized persons to participate in denominational and local church leadership.
Create defining terminology and resource lists that support the content related to diversity, access, equity and social inclusion.
Provide pathways and advocate for individuals affected by racism in the church and the community to move towards healing, wholeness and justice.
Suggest specific opportunities for local congregations to explore, learn about, and invest in the establishment of a truly anti-racist, intercultural environment across generations.