Bishop's Task Force Update and Glossary of Terms

The Bishop’s Task Force met September 21 and has been meeting monthly to collaborate with the member bodies of the Wisconsin Conference for radical inclusion and racial justice. In its work of dismantling systemic exclusion, they are working with the Director of Connectional Ministries to bring in a consultant group of national prominence to help us assess our systems and processes, dismantle what excludes, teach what can help us ground our work, and reform what new thing God would do in Wisconsin. This effort will require input from caucus and representative bodies as we build the bridge while we walk on it.

At the September 12 meeting of the Connectional Table, the work of radical inclusion and racial justice was adopted as the priority of this body and $50,000 was dedicated to this work. It was reiterated that the caucuses have had a historic ministry of advocacy and this work is one of collaboration, not competition or replacement. Some Task Force members were blessed to share a recent meeting with Black clergy to inform its work.

Finally, the Task Force has worked on a glossary of terms we hope will help the annual conference pursue a goal of advancing radical inclusion and racial justice. From time to time these updates will end with a term or group of terms and a request readers use them in a bulletin or newsletter or class or sermon. If edits are suggested, feel free to pass those along. Our terms for this time will be: ‘Harm,’ ‘Marginalized,’ ‘Oppression,’ and ‘Grace.’

Harm:  in the context of “do no harm”, harm means repeating the oppression of marginalized people by dominant powers in interpersonal and systemic ways. Harm is systemic damage or injury.  The appropriate response to harm is to stop the oppression and repair conditions caused by marginalization. Harm has been done people of color and the LGBTQIA community (1). 

Marginalized: People who have been historically oppressed or brutalized (i.e., assaulted, silenced, dehumanized) emotionally, physically, or culturally; marginalized individuals are on the fringes of society, excluded or isolated; the systems of society work to further exclude, ignore or silence their voice (1).
Oppression: Exists when one social group, whether knowingly or unconsciously, exploits another social group for its own benefit (2).

Grace:  As modeled by Jesus, the offering actions and responses that allow individuals and communities to more closely reflect God’s vision of the world. Grace involves forgiveness, patience and acting to disrupt harm of marginalized people (1).
  1. First Do No Harm, A Toolkit for Conversations, Minnesota Methodists
  2. LGBTQIA Resource Center, University California Davis, LGBTQIA Resource Center Glossary, 2016