VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 12/22/21)—The ABCUSA Anti-Racism Task Force, formed in fall of 2020, concluded its year-long goals of planning a symposium that explores and equips for the work of anti-racism, and identifying and surfacing anti-racism resources for individuals, congregations, and institutions. The Anti-Racism Task Force held an Anti-Racism Symposium on October 30, 2021. The recording for this symposium can be viewed here. The Resource List and published articles from the Anti-Racism Task Force, along with its final report, can be found here.
The American Baptist Churches USA Board of General Ministries Executive Committee in June 2020 called to reconstitute its task force on race and race-based violence, this time with an emphasis on anti-racism. An August 2020 Call to Prayer was held, followed by an application process, and the Anti-Racism Task Force and three sub-groups (Individual, Congregational and Institutional) were formed.
Beyond the original goals of collecting resources and holding a symposium, the task force also laid a foundation for the necessary ongoing work of anti-racism by American Baptist Churches USA through a proposal for an anti-racism commission, which was affirmed by the Board of General Ministries in November 2021.
ABCUSA President Karen Podsiadly said, “The Board of General Ministries Executive Committee sincerely thanks Co-Chairpersons Rev. Dr. Natalie Wimberly and Rev. Justin Thornburgh, and all members of the task force and sub-groups, for answering the call to serve and for completing well the tasks that were assigned. We recognize that there remains much to do ahead of us as we continue ‘recognizing our oneness in Christ, confessing that we have not become what God wants us to be, and committing ourselves to pressing on to that mark of high calling by which we can become a liberating symbol to our nation and world of what it means to be the people of God.’ These words, taken from the American Baptist Policy Statement on Racial Justice and lifted up in the Anti-Racism Task Force’s work, along with the proposal to form an anti-racism commission can guide us as we continue taking steps in the right direction.”
Current Vice President of ABCUSA, the Rev. Dr. James O. Wolfe, will step into his role as President of ABCUSA on January 1, 2022 and has expressed commitment to continue the anti-racism work through the Board of General Ministries.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.