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May 12, 2000 GC-075

United Methodists adopt constitutional amendment on racism

CLEVELAND (UMNS) – United Methodism’s highest legislative gathering continued the meeting’s spirit of reconciliation and repentance of racial injustices by adopting a constitutional amendment May 12 calling for commitment to eliminating racism in every aspect of the church’s life.

No discussion was needed for the worldwide body, meeting May 2-12, to pass the amendment 831 to 45. The new statement strengthens the church’s position and responsibility to "confront and seek to eliminate racism" in the church and society. It will follow Paragraph 4, Article IV, on the "Inclusiveness of the Church."

During a May 4 service, United Methodists confessed to the sin of racism within the denomination. The act of repentance and call for reconciliation were an attempt to recapture the spirit of Methodism lost when some African Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries felt compelled to leave the church’s predecessor bodies and form their own congregations.

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-- Barbara Nissen

The full text of the constitutional amendment follows:

Racial Justice – The United Methodist Church proclaims the value of each person as a unique child of God and commits itself to the healing and wholeness of all persons. The United Methodist Church recognizes that the sin of racism has been destructive to its unity throughout its history. Racism continues to cause painful division and marginalization. The United Methodist Church shall confront and seek to eliminate racism, whether in organizations or in individuals, in every facet of its life and in society at large. The United Methodist Church shall work collaboratively with others to address concerns that threaten the cause of racial justice at all times and in all places.

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