Advocating for Justice
The Peace with Justice Covenant Congregation Program aims to make shalom — a word of greeting or farewell meaning peace — visible and active in people’s lives and communities. The General Conference assigned The General Board of Church & Society to put into service the program and called the denomination to “strengthen its capacity to act as a public advocate” in communities and nations throughout the world.
The General Board of Church and Society’s five focus points include poverty, climate, health, peace, and Civil/Human Rights.
Texas IMPACT is an interfaith commission that acts as a localized public policy advocate to work toward social justice. It aims to put faith into action by working together on issues that impact the most vulnerable. Texas IMPACT examines and aims to eradicate disparities in health, education, quality of life, and the gap between the powerful and the marginalized.
The General Commission on Religion and Race also puts faith into action by challenging and equipping the church to dismantle racist systems within. This work leads to conversations that spurred the Rio Texas Covenant on Anti-Racism.
The Covenant was released in September 2020 by Robert Schnase, Bishop of the Rio Texas Conference. He asked the cabinet, the Board of Ordained Ministry, and other conference leaders and mentors to form an Anti-racism Working Group. He asked members of the conference to covenant the following:
We will work intentionally, individually and collectively, to seek out and confront the presence of racism in our own hearts, attitudes, and actions. We will approach this as a spiritual discipline, in faithfulness to our Creator and to Christ’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves.
We will listen to the voices and experiences of Black, Hispanic, Asian, and other persons of color as we learn to act more justly.
We will work together to identify the sinful patterns and practices of racism in our conference, our churches, and our communities. We will take concrete steps to repent and take concrete steps toward equity. We will give ourselves fully to the ongoing anti-racism work our bishop has announced.
We acknowledge that anti-racism is both a perspective and a journey. We will strive to listen, speak, and act with honesty, courage, grace for ourselves and others, and a sincere desire to learn and grow. We will maintain our focus on the needs of those most harmed by racism in all its forms.
We will put our faith in our good and gracious God and will trust that the work of anti-racism will bring blessing and healing to all people.
In partnership with Methodist Healthcare Ministries, Prosperemos Juntos/Thriving Together Learning Collaborative aims to build capacity for communities in Bexar County and the Rio Grande Valley border counties to advance health, opportunity, prosperity, and equity through community solutions. This work includes applying a racial equity lens with collaboration with community members, partners, coaches, peers, and others around the region.