Becoming Anti-racist

Defining “Anti-racism”

“Anti-racism is an active and conscious effort to work against the multidimensional aspects of racism.”

Robert J. Patterson, professor of African American Studies at Georgetown University

“One is either racist or anti-racist. There is no room for neutrality, and there is no such thing as a ‘non-racist.'”

Ibram X. Kendi, Racism Scholar

“Anti-racism is a ‘white problem.’ That means personal accountability and action are at the heart of being an anti-racist.

Robin DiAngelo, Author


Our Statements on Racism

Lay Leadership Statement
June 12, 2020

Dear Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church: 
As lay leaders in this congregation, we write to you today sharing in our community’s collective grief and outrage at the murder of George Floyd on May 25 by a Minneapolis police officer. We are angry and saddened that yet another Black person has been murdered, and we grieve as God grieves that systemic racism and oppression continue to harm our community, our society, and the church.

We name our contributions to systemic racism and its continuing impact on our community. Our collective history of white supremacy has allowed for and perpetuated a system and culture where, among other pernicious effects, acts of police brutality are left undisciplined and unaddressed, and where force is used by police toward our black and brown brothers, sisters, and siblings in Christ at a disproportionately high rate.

Our behavior is unacceptable and must change now.

As United Methodists, we are called first to do no harm. We are also called to love God, and to do good toward all people, at all times, in all places. Christ, who leads us with love, calls us to work for justice and peace, and so we acknowledge the following:

  • We acknowledge we must work together to undo the harm that church and society have caused in exclusion and discrimination through systemic forms of oppression.
  • We acknowledge it is our role as your lay leaders to examine how we as a church engage in this work happening now and the road that is ahead.
  • We acknowledge and repent of our implicit biases and our contributions to racism.
  • We acknowledge we must live in the discomfort of seeking to understand and let go of the need to be right and defend ourselves.
  • We acknowledge it is not enough to be not racist, we must take up the mantle of becoming anti-racist.
  • We acknowledge that we need to be in community with those who are already deeply engaged in this vital work.
  • We acknowledge that while we can talk about advancing our mission and strategic initiatives of growing in love of God and neighbor, reaching new people, and healing a broken world, it doesn’t matter unless we act to do so by intentionally building a multi-racial beloved community inside and outside our church walls, and by working to advance racial, economic, and environmental justice for all.

Finally, we ask you to join us in acknowledging this statement, and wherever you are in your journey, to join us in becoming anti-racist. We cannot be people of faith unless we acknowledge and repent of our sins, and atone for them in action. One way to begin is to participate in the GCORR Implicit Bias training and engage in Vital Conversations with others in our community and congregation about racism (see Courses & Dialogues, below, for details). In the coming weeks, our church will be bringing forward additional opportunities for us to work individually and collectively toward becoming anti-racist.

We pray today and each day that together we continue to learn from the experiences of one another as we decry the sin of racism, grow in our love for one another, and together heal our broken world.

Together with you in Christ,

The Lay Leaders of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church

Strategic Council Co-chairs:
Taylor Rub, Jon Nygren

Strategic Council:
Rodney Bacon, Glenna Dibrell, David Focht, John Haberman, Chidi Omeoga, Marla Tipping

Other Lay Leaders:
Adele Dahm (Risk-Taking Mission & Service), Amy Batchelder (Staff Parish Relations; Risk Taking Mission & Service), Amy K. Griffiths Tori (Communications & Marketing), Ann Carlson (Baiwalla, Sierra Leone Ministry; Refugee Resettlement ministry), Anna Horning Nygren (Staff Parish Relations; Children’s Team), Becky Boland (United Methodist Women), Beth Arel (Fine Arts Team), Bill Tipping, Bill Waterman (Trustee), Bobbie Keller (Senior Team), Brooke Smars (Stewardship Co-chair), Brian Seim (Finance), Bryan Carter (Community Meals), Cheryl Gibbons (Connections), Chrissy Dahlheimer (Finance), Cindy Aegerter, Conner Simms (Staff Parish Relations), Dan McConnell (Trustee), David Kinyon (Staff Parish Relations), Diane Goulding, Donna Long (Trustee), Daniel Dahm (Trustee), Elizabeth Barnum (Adult Team), Ellen Sundell (Head Usher), Faith Nutz, Gail Hansen, Ginger Sisco (Connections Committee chair), Hannah Widmer , Heather Alden (Youth Committee), James Narr (Finance), Janelle Vaubel (UMCOR Sager Brown ministry), Janet Polach (Connections Committee), Jeff Niblack (Finance, Children’s Team), Jeff Smith (former Lay Leader and long-time member), Jerry Gale (Member since 1977), Jill Johnson (Music Committee), Joe Polach, John Dunlop (Outreach), John Roberts (Connections Team member), John Thornbrugh, Juanita Reed-Boniface (Co-Facilitator, Thursday Morning Bible Study), Judith Pratt (Knotty Quilters), Kale Langley (Stewardship Co-Chair), Kara Holthe, Karen Andrew (United Methodist Women, Risk Taking Mission and Service, Library Team), Kathryn Johnson (Adult Team), Kemi Ojelade (Youth Committee), Kristin K. Zinsmaster, Laura Dirks (Library Team), Leslie Wille, Liz Buckingham (Trustees), Lona Dallessandro (Risk Taking Mission and Service Lay Leader), Lynne Carroll (Children and Family Ministries), Magee Glenn-Burns, Marcia Sullivan (Fine Arts), Maren Jensen, Marilyn Newstrum (Connections Committee), Mark Giorgini (Risk-taking Mission and Service), Mark Squire (Music & Fine Arts), Marty Shimko (Finance Committee), Mary Martin (RTMS), Mike DeVaughn (Staff Parrish Relations), Nancy Gunderson, Nancy Whiteside (Library Team), Randy Barreto (SPR, Chair), Rick Belbutoski, Rita Lyell , Sarah Wiechmann, Steve Mahle (Finance), Susan Dunlop (Legacy Committee), Susanne Mattison (UMW)

Anti-racism Video Series


“It is our responsibility as persons of faith, and particularly as followers of Jesus in the Methodist tradition, to address the pervasive pandemic of racism. Nelson Mandela declared, ‘No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.’ We stand at a critical intersection in history—called to be both students and teachers of love.
–Bishop Bruce R. Ough, Resident Bishop, Dakotas-Minnesota Area

Find more anti-racism resources on the Minnesota Annual Conference of the UMC’s anti-racsim page at:
Standing Against Racism:
Rev. Frenchye Magee
This video is the first in a weekly series of reflections following the death of George Floyd and the renewed call to end racism. In it, Rev. Frenchye Magee, associate pastor at Hennepin Avenue UMC in Minneapolis, talks about how the murder of George Floyd was a seminal moment, what she has seen and learned, and how she’s called to help her congregation work for racial justice.

Standing Against Racism:
Rev. Rich Zeck
This video is the second in a weekly series of reflections following the death of George Floyd and the renewed call to end racism. In it, Rev. Rich Zeck, who serves Brooklyn UMC in Brooklyn Center, talks about hearing personal accounts of racism from the men of color in his congregation, his firm belief that God is with us, and feeling called to stand in his discomfort as he ministers to neighbors and helps rebuild.

Standing Against Racism:
Rev. Tyler Sit
This video is the third in a weekly series of reflections following the death of George Floyd and the renewed call to end racism. In it, Rev. Tyler Sit, who serves New City Church in Minneapolis, talks about how we follow Jesus best when we are anti-racist. He calls on United Methodists to make anti-racism part of their faith practice and to attend to it weekly in order to build the kingdom of God.

Standing Against Racism:
Rev. Dr. Shawn Moore
This video is the fourth in a series of reflections following the death of George Floyd and the renewed call to end racism. In it, Rev. Dr. Shawn Moore, who serves Living Spirit UMC in Minneapolis, talks about the skin he’s in, the heaviness that our community is experiencing, and how he’s called to show up, listen, be the hands and feet of Christ, and work for racial reconciliation.

Standing Against Racism:
Rev. Dana Neuhauser
This video is the fifth in a series of reflections following the death of George Floyd and the renewed call to end racism. In it, Rev. Dana Neuhauser, a deacon who serves New City Church in Minneapolis, talks about how she’s called to equip congregations to engage in long-term racial justice work and dismantle white supremacy—how it lives in our bodies as well as our institutions and systems.

Standing Against Racism:
Rev. Jesús Purisaca Ruiz
his video is the sixth in a series of reflections following the death of George Floyd and the renewed call to end racism. In it, Rev. Jesús Purisaca Ruiz, who serves Iglesia Piedra Viva in Minneapolis, talks about how the kingdom of God is justice and we must not be silent when we witness discrimination.


Anti-racism Courses & Dialogues

A New World: Virtual Seminar in July
As a part of Hennepin’s work to become an anti-racist congregation, we are offering a unique experience for youth and adults to participate in a four-morning virtual social justice seminar.
Door Network, partner for our now-cancelled youth mission trip to Chicago, is offering an online seminar full of conversation and inspiration to fuel our social justice work. We’ll gather virtually the mornings of Monday, July 27, through Thursday, July 30, from 9 to 11:45am.
Many topics related to social justice will be discussed and we will explore how these issues have impacted the lives of people of color in Chicago, where Door Network is doing mission work. These conversations will help us better understand the issues facing people of color in the Twin Cities.
We will also have the opportunity to put together a campaign to benefit a local charity doing work to dismantle systemic racism in Minneapolis.
Register online here, and we will email you the details for joining the sessions. Those signing up for this event are encouraged to participate in all four mornings of conversation.
Questions? Email Rick Belbutoski, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.

You Are Here: First Steps for White Christians on Race and Racism
Begins August 1:
Pre-registration is now open!

You Are Here: First Steps for White Christians on Race and Racism is an online course for Christians who want to acquire a fundamental understanding of race and racism from a biblical perspective.

This four-part self-directed course offers videos featuring Robin DiAngelo and Rev. Dr. Anderson Hooker, reflections, and activities to help people of faith to recognize racism and begin to challenge it in their lives.

Confront Implicit Bias: Take an Online Course

In our work for racial justice, we must confront the ways that racism is woven into our culture, our institutions, and even our own psyches.

“Implicit Bias: What We Don’t Think We Think” is an online course created by The United Methodist General Commission on Religion and Race for anyone interested in learning and teaching others about implicit bias.

Share this link with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers–and commit yourself to learning more about how implicit bias perpetuates racial injustice:


If you are interested in becoming an active member of Hennepin Avenue UMC’s social and environmental justice movement, join our private Facebook group HennepinHOPE, and follow us on Twitter!

We’ll be sharing ways to come together in support of meaningful change for our community. Get involved today!

HennepinHOPE Facebook Group
HennepinHOPE on Twitter

Dialogues On: Race | Book, Facilitator Guide, & DVD

“Dialogues On: Race” Learner Book replicates a conversational experience by giving participants a reader on race, and is is packed with well-researched information, but brought to life with the lived experience and stories of people at the center of the topic. In addition to the learner book, “Dialogues On: Race” includes:

“Dialogues On: Facilitator Guide” offers a structured guide for leaders to develop new communication skills and lead the session for the week.

“Dialogues On: DVD” features a series of interviews to highlight the topic and help you dive deeper into race.

This curriculum contains topics for eight weeks of discussion in your small group for adults.

For more information, and to purchase these materials, please visit the Spark House website.


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Anti-racism Books & Audio


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Children & Family Books on Anti-racism

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Contact Us

If you have any questions about becoming anti-racist, about anti-racism, ways to become more involved, or you'd like to share your own excellent resources on anti-racism, please call our main church number and leave a message for Strategic Council at 612-871-5303. We will respond promptly.


Taylor Rub
Strategic Council

Jon Nygren
Strategic Council