Answering the Call for Reparations

“…the Minnesota Conference reaffirms the historic and faithful commitments of the Annual Meeting and our covenantal partners: finding racism a pervasive sin that mars the full and equal recognition of God’s image in all people, repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery by which land and culture were sinfully obtained from Native people through terror and genocide in the name of Christ, confessing those shameful parts of White culture and practice that continue to dehumanize and dishonor God’s people, and declaring again our intention to be a multiracial and multicultural Conference.”

At its 2019 Annual Meeting, the Minnesota Conference voted to begin a process of reparations with approval of a resolution recognizing the pervasive sin of racism and apologizing for past actions of the Christian Church and its members in the history of slavery, genocidal abuse of Native people and communities, and the subsequent institutional racism in the laws and practices of our state and country. The resolution further stipulated creation of a Racial Justice and Reparations fund to support reparation initiatives. The Conference committed to initial seed funding of $5,000.

Amos Task Force Focuses on Reparations
In the time since that resolution was passed, George Floyd was murdered and racial injustices in our Minnesota communities were laid bare once again. Two weeks after Mr. Floyd’s death, the Conference board of directors approved establishment of the Amos Task Force whose charge is to: 1) shape a short-term, thoughtful response to the murder of Mr. Floyd and the communities most impacted by the unrest resulting from it; and 2) to develop a longer-term strategy for the Minnesota Conference UCC to address and repair historic and present-day racial injustice in the state of Minnesota and in ourselves as a Conference of local churches.

In its first meetings, the Amos Task Force determined a focus on reparations for organizations serving Indigenous populations around the areas of homelessness and housing. To ensure a statewide focus, the group carefully chose the American Indian Community Development Corporation in the Twin Cities and the American Indian Community Housing Organization in Duluth. These two entities will share this year’s $5,000 in reparations funding.

Local Churches Engage in Work
Local churches, too, are stepping into the work of reparations. For example, Robbinsdale Parkway UCC recently prepared and shared a statement in worship that begins: “We who are non-Native confess that our ongoing colonization of the land is unjust, and that our broken relationship with the land is a root cause of our global climate crisis.” Robbinsdale committed to spending the year examining reparations as the church seeks “to heal our relationship with the Dakota and Anishinaabe people, with this land and our own soul.”

If your congregation is examining reparations, we want to hear from you. Please share your story with communications@uccmn.org.