“We wanted to do something to help churches lift up the issue of racism and stand firm,” said Linda Bales-Todd, West Ohio Conference representative to the Ohio Council of Churches.
On September 20, all Christians in Ohio are asked to join the OCC and declare that day “Anti-Racism Sunday – Becoming a Beloved Community.”
Led by director Jack Sullivan, the OCC is a partnership of 17 Christian denominations and 23 judicatories throughout Ohio. For over 100 years, their mission has been to be a transformational church body that makes visible the unity of the church; engages in worship, education and fellowship; and proclaims Christ's love and justice through public witness.
Becoming one voice on this day can be a powerful witness for Christians to affirm that the systems and climate of racism do not reflect who God called us to be.
OCC has two pathways in which churches can be involved on September 20. All resources can be found on the Ohio Council of Churches website:
- Select a litany or prayer created to emphasize anti-racism as part of Sunday worship. Click here for resources.
- Join OCC for a Facebook Live worship service at 2:00 p.m. Click here for Facebook page.
Serving on the council is a natural transition for Bales-Todd. She worked for the General Board of Church and Society in ministry advocating for women and children. Later, she became engaged in ministry around HIV/AIDS, work she is continuing today.
Bales-Todd is not one to see injustices and do nothing. After the George Floyd killing, she and members of her book club were so enraged, they collectively wrote a letter to express their anger and concerns. The letter was sent to the NAACP, public officials and Bishop Gregory V. Palmer. “The title was ‘Rage to Resolve,’” she said.
Beyond Sunday, September 20, the OCC is committed to “Becoming a Beloved Community” by doing anti-racism work. Trainings, books and starter conversations are available to help faith communities and others to begin and continue this effort.
“You can’t see the issues of racism, HIV/AIDS and now COVID-19 in isolation. We have to challenge the systems that keep them in place,” Bales-Todd said.