Opt In: Engaging Faith for Racial Justice
As we continue to “opt in” to the work of racial justice, we acknowledge that no matter what community gatherings we hold, or education we provide, it is ultimately up to each of us to educate and engage ourselves in dismantling racial injustice and oppression. In order to help us, as individuals and as a community, do that work, we offer you this resource, and will periodically provide more resources on this webpage.
What is the “Opt In” initiative of Foundry UMC?
In the wake of the events following the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri, Foundry UMC’s Senior Pastor, the Rev. Ginger E. Gaines-Cirelli, called Foundry to “opt in” to the fight for racial justice. She said:
So often, “white clergy and churches choose to ‘opt out’ of engaging issues of racial injustice…The truth is that part of the privilege of being white is that white folks can choose to ‘opt out,’ we can say we are tired of talking about race or of people making things about race…Our sisters and brothers of color don’t have the option… So how can you ‘opt in?’ First, ask God to give you the courage to be honest about your own attitudes and practices and then repent of anything that is not grounded in love and compassion. And to repent means not only to say something, but to do something. To repent is to change. You can also ‘opt in’ by coming together with others who feel a call to address issues of racial injustice.” (Click here to read the full sermon)
Since then, Foundry has been engaged in an intentional movement to Opt In. We proclaim that Black Lives Matter and are seeking ways to build Beloved Community within our walls and communities of justice in our city, nation, and world. YOU are invited to Opt In.
Here are some ways that we seek to be about this work:
- Opportunities for study
- Bible Study
- Learning about existing policies and practices in government and law enforcement that negatively impact persons and communities of color
- Book studies
- Small group conversations and listening sessions
- Mission partnerships with churches and organizations in Baltimore and DC to build relationships and strengthen communities
- Engagement with the Greater Washington District initiatives around racial justice
- Continued partnership and relationship-building with our sister congregation, Asbury UMC
Want to receive information about the ongoing Opt In opportunities at Foundry Church? Please email us at Optin@foundryumc.org for more information.