In 2018, Our Movement Forward began as a movement within the United Methodist Church to center BIPOC and LGBTQ+ persons in a denomination that in polity and practice excludes both groups. Since the very first conversation, UMForward.org has provided resources and hosted conversations for two different directions: staying in and fighting for change within The UMC, or starting a new expression outside of the UMC.
In October 2020, these two conversations became two different groups: the Liberation Project and the Liberation Methodist Connexion. Hacking Christianity will be sharing more about them both in the coming months.
Full disclosure: I’ve volunteered as a consultant to this team for the past few months.
The Liberation Project description
The Liberation Project is a convening of liberationists who collectively emancipate systems of oppression, resurrect new life, and collaborate with and for the mutuality and fullness of humanity. While its work is expansive and moves beyond traditional denominational systems, in the context of an extraordinary global sea-change, The Liberation Project is called to a radical reformation of The United Methodist Church. From art to music to word, The Liberation Project is reclaiming the heart of freedom through Christ’s liberative work. With a constructive, celebratory posture keen on ‘liberation discipleship,’ The Liberation Project will resource and empower liberationist congregations as it joins with the divine in creating a more flourishing world.” For more information on The Liberation Project, visit theliberationists.com.
The Liberation Project is a national conversation of Christians exploring the Gospel of Liberation. We seek a world where all of God’s Creation is collectively liberating systems of oppression, resurrecting new life, and collaborating with and for the mutuality and fullness of humanity. From music to art to sermons, we’re committed to providing leaders and congregations with resources and community to further the Gospel of Liberation.
Four questions for the Liberation Project
- What is the difference between the Liberation Project and the Liberation Methodist Connection?
The biggest one is…The Liberation Project is not a denomination! The Liberation Project resources people practicing liberation theology in local United Methodist contexts. The Liberation Connexion is a denomination, which means that they will have bylaws, policies around governance, credentialing, etc.
- For people who have been involved in the struggle for intersectional justice in the UMC tradition, what would be exciting for them in the Liberation Project?
Many United Methodists know that they are supposed to oppose racism, trans/homophobia, colonialism, and other evils stifling our nation, but struggle to know where to start or how to stay in the fight. The resources of the Liberation Project will not only provide inspiration but practical steps toward moving your small group, congregation, and community towards justice. We will do this by highlighting particular ministry practitioners each season, hosting online forums between practitioners, and even creating art and music that churches can use. ”
- What are the values that are undergirding the Liberation Project?
As liberation practitioners operating within The United Methodist Church, we are emphatically practical. We want the people who encounter our work to not only celebrate theology and framework but tactile methods for shaping their community. We are also deeply faith-based–we do not see this as “practicing secular social justice with a little bit of Jesus sprinkled on.” Rather, we see faith as foundational and intrinsic to the work of any truly transformative justice
- What’s the next big thing for the Liberation Project? How can folks get involved?
We’ll be publicly launching on November 19th, you can register for a webinar on “What is a Liberationist” here. Also, follow us on social media as we push out new liberationist content: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
We are going to kick off our launch with a roundtable discussion about what liberation means to them and how people get free. We will be discussing important questions in the post-election world: What’s the church’s role in healing division? What does it mean that liberation is for all? How do we do the work of liberation today? This event will include opportunities to ask questions of the Liberationists.
I hope to see you there, and I’m excited to see the possibilities for my own local United Methodist congregation through this collective effort.
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