Race and Culture Task Force Keeps Moving Forward


Missouri Bishop Robert Farr’s view from the stage looked predominantly white. He took that as a sign that there was work to be done. 

Bishop Farr grew up around people who looked just like him. He now feels so blessed that God put others in his path. It’s not always the easiest path, but it’s the right one. 

“When it comes to resisting evil, if you give just a little push and get a lot of pushback,” Bishop Farr said. “I know some of you are trying because I get letters and emails about how bad you are.” 

Bishop Farr said the biggest threat to United Methodism isn’t disaffiliation. It’s declining churches. The mission field is changing. The church is getting older, while Missouri is getting younger and more diverse. 

Last year Conference leaders set out to engage 20% of the churches in the Conference in race and culture work, which would have been 140. They beat that goal by five churches. 

Last year the Black church strategy group worked with the Center for Congregational Excellence to award $25,000 boost grants to 24 historically Black churches. This year boost grants will be available to language-based churches. 

Northwest District Superintendent David Gilmore told of a plan to plant a new church in a predominantly African American neighborhood in south Kansas City. Plans are in the work to do something similar in St. Louis later. 

“I heard someone say we would rather discuss human sexuality than racism. Those that don’t want to stand with us, just sit down and don’t say anything, and we’ll get it done anyway,” Gilmore said. “You need to hear that. I’m not going to give up. We’re going to keep moving forward.”