Gathering seeks effective ways to engage young people in dialogue about racism

July 11, 2016
NASHVILLE, Tenn. July 11, 2016 /Discipleship Ministries/ – As recent events once again focus attention on issues of racial inequality, Young People’s Ministries (YPM), a division of Discipleship Ministries, will convene a session this month to identify more effective ways to resource the church for conversations with young people about racism.
The Racism Gathering on July 28-30 will bring young African-American leaders and allies from each of the five U.S. jurisdictions together at the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas, Texas, to create an action plan for more effective and additional resourcing on the topic of racism.
“As racism continues to be a persistent issue in the U.S. culture, Young People's Ministry seeks to more effectively impact the lives of young people in the United Methodist Church and beyond with sustainable resourcing that will, in time, create a more equitable existence for all people to live in the love we profess as followers of Christ,” said Michael Ratliff, Associate General Secretary at Discipleship Ministries and head of the YPM division.
Joining the young African-American leaders for the gathering will be the Rev. Junius B. Dotson, Discipleship Ministries General Secretary (CEO) and the U.S. program staff of YPM.
“While there has been response to recent events of racial inequality from the faith community, there is a need for a more sustained approach,” Ratliff said. “If we are to be involved in shaping disciples who reshape our country and world, they need the tools to do that work. The church is uniquely positioned and responsible to shed the light of Christ’s love, illuminating the path to a future where each individual and all groups of people are recognized for who they are – beloved Children of God.”
YPM staff has been investigating the resources available to facilitate discussion, understanding and action for young people in the church. During the event, participants will create an action plan to provide a roadmap for the development of a resourcing process that will more effectively address issues related to racism – in particular as it relates to black/white relationships, Ratliff said.
The event will serve as a first step to pave the way for broader conversations around diversity in the future.

The action plan from the gathering will be made available following the event, Ratliff said.

The mission of Discipleship Ministries is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit, the Press Center at or call the Office of Communications at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726. 
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