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

conversations on racial justice

watch > > > live reading of the Rev. Dr. King’s famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

Hennepin Avenue UMC’s clergy, staff and youth invite you to watch their live reading of King’s famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
Together we may hold space and time to reflect on King’s vision for justice, and his call for us all to be “extremists for love.”
You are invited to share your own reflection about what King’s message means for you by posting in the comments of the video recording.

watch > > > FAITH & JUSTICE:

Rick Belbutoski, Dir. of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, held a Facebook Live interview with renowned blogger, activist, and poet Hannah L. Drake on the Hennepin Avenue UMC Facebook page on Sunday, 10/25/20.
The conversation centered around the intersection of faith and social justice, and the role that everyone has to play in creating a better world.
Hannah L. Drake has been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine and recognized for her work by First Lady Michelle Obama. Drake says “My sole purpose in writing and speaking is not that I entertain you. I am trying to shake a nation.”

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 statement > > > add your name

take action! anti-racism resources

Anti-racism Videos & Podcasts

Find more anti-racism resources on ‘The Minnesota Annual Conference of the UMC’ anti-racsim page at:

“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

Anti-racism Courses & Dialogues


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

Implicit Bias: What We Don’t Think We Think

Anti-Racism 101: Required Skills for White People Who Want to Be Allies
You Are Here: First Steps for White Christians on Race and Racism

Show Your Community What You Believe with a yard sign!

FREE Hennepin County Library Books


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audio library

Anti-racism Books & Audio


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Children & Family Books on Anti-racism


Every week in February, Hennepin Kids for LYFE will read a story that is either about Black History, or that is written or illustrated by Black authors or illustrators. Enjoy!

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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.