Posted on July 16, 2021

United Church of Christ Declares Racism a Public Health Crisis

Emily McFarlan Miller, Religion News Service, July 14, 2021

The United Church of Christ kicked off its Special Edition General Synod on Sunday (July 11) by passing a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis.

Delegates to the mainline denomination’s biennial meeting, held virtually this year, approved “A Resolution to Declare and Respond to Racism as a Public Health Crisis” with 96% of the vote during the opening plenary. The resolution was submitted by the UCC’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries and the Council on Racial and Ethnic Ministries.

The Rev. Elyse Berry, associate for advocacy and leadership development for the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries, told the denomination the resolution’s approval “set the tone” for the General Synod, which runs through next Sunday (July 18).

“Racial justice is intentionally woven throughout this Synod,” Berry said.


The resolution also calls on UCC churches to educate their members and advocate for public policies that work toward health equity. And it calls on Congress to pass the Anti-Racism in Public Health Act, which would create a Center on Anti-Racism in Health and Law Enforcement Violence Prevention Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Unlike other denominations meeting this summer, the 715 voting delegates participating in the United Church of Christ’s General Synod do not plan to debate critical race theory {snip}

That’s because the UCC settled those questions years ago, declaring itself an “anti-racist church” in 2003, the Rev. Traci Blackmon told Religion News Service before the General Synod began.