As a Christian people we believe that everyone is created in the image of God and is beloved by God. Yet we live in a society where there are still issues of racial injustice that impact each of us in direct and indirect ways. One of the obstacles to progress is that we haven’t made enough space to hear from people with experiences that are different than our own–especially to hear their experiences with injustices, racism, fear, etc. Bishop Johnson, as well as Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball and the Council of Bishops, have asked us to begin intentional dialogue toward peace, to take up the cause of the oppressed and to be proactive in seeking justice and reconciliation.
These discussion sessions are designed as a first step to begin conversations that prepare leaders to begin discussions about racial justice in their local context, to help us identify ways to develop ongoing deeper relationships with diverse peoples, and to begin the important work of proactively dismantling systems of injustice BEFORE there are any further crises in our own communities.Our goal is to host monthly opportunities here in Lancaster County for dialogue and discernment about how we can work to solve the ongoing struggles for civil rights, social justice, and an end to discrimination, as well as stand against violence and privilege that oppresses.
Everyone is invited to attend–although our initial invitation is focused on United Methodist pastors and lay people in the Southwest District of the Eastern PA Annual Conference. We believe this is an important initial step to prepare for future dialogue that will include more diverse populations. As we progress in our dialogue, we are also interested in engaging with a broad spectrum of our brothers and sisters including persons of all races, faith traditions, civil society groups, etc. in order to develop relationships and solidarity in the work. Eventually we would like to engage in dialogue with local civil servants (police, county commissioners, legislators, etc.) to enhance positive relationships between them and communities where there has been distrust.
To help us prepare adequate copies of materials, seating arrangements and refreshments it would be helpful for you to register a week ahead of time for monthly discussion sessions (we can be a little flexible). To register, please contact Pastor Jason: firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 333-9238 and provide your contact info for yourself and those you are bringing with you (names, phone numbers, email addresses and church affiliation are helpful). A light meal will be served at most sessions since we will be meeting over the dinner hour.
Pastor Jason Perkowski, Pastor Andrea Brown, Pastor Derrick Gutierrez and Pastor Quentin Wallace
Pastor Jason Perkowski
Faith UMC and Oregon Community UMC
Lititz, PA 17543
Pastor Andrea Brown
888 Pleasure Road
Lancaster, PA 17601
Pastor Derrick Gutierrez
Saint Pauls UMC
105 West Main Street
Terre Hill, PA 17581
Pastor Quentin Wallace
110 N Mulberry Street
Lancaster, PA 17603