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UM General Conference Committee Mocks Native Americans By Selecting Richmond, VA, home of the Richmond Braves, In Violation Of UM Mascot Legislation



United Methodists denounce Native American sports mascots

May 13, 2004

By Linda Green*

PITTSBURGH (UMNS) - United Methodist agencies and other organizations are not to conduct meetings or hold events in cities where professional sports teams use Native American mascots.

Delegates to the 2004 United Methodist General Conference rejected the use of Native American names and symbols for sport teams, calling the practice dehumanizing and a blatant expression of racism. The action came May 7 at the church's top legislative gathering, held every four years.

The nearly 1,000 United Methodists from across the world also noted that their denomination has been one of many faith groups calling for respect for Native American legacies and traditions.

The resolution, approved 842-10, reaffirmed the church's commitment to "participate actively in the continued struggle of building the true community of God, where reconciliation comes together with justice and peace."

The General Conference called upon all churchwide agencies, annual conferences and other United Methodist-related entities to hold meetings and events only in cities that do not sponsor sport teams using Native American names and symbols. After choosing an event location, the organization should state the denomination's position regarding Native American names and symbols, the conference said.

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From: UMNS All News [mailto:UMNS-ALL-NEWS@UMCGROUPEMAIL.ORG] On Behalf Of NewsDesk
Sent: Tuesday, November 22, 2005 5:49 PM
To: UMNS-ALL-NEWS@UMCGROUPEMAIL.ORG
Subject: [UMNS-ALL-NEWS] UMNS# 655-2012 United Methodist General Conference to be in Virginia

2012 United Methodist General Conference to be in Virginia

Nov. 22, 2005

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS)-The 2012 international gathering of the United Methodist General Conference will be held in Richmond, Va., the denomination's Commission on the General Conference announced Nov. 22.

The gathering of 1,000 delegates from the U.S., Europe, Africa and Asia will be held at the Richmond Convention Center, April 25-May 4, 2012. In addition to delegates, about 4,000 additional persons are expected to attend and participate in the conference.

The General Conference is the United Methodist Church's top legislative gathering. The conference meets every four years to consider changes to church law and to take positions on theological and social issues related to the church's work around the globe. The next conference will be April 23-May 2, 2008, in Forth Worth, Texas.

Richmond, Orlando and Tampa, Fla. were the three finalists considered by the Commission on the General Conference during the site selection process. The commission's site selection team visited the sites before recommending Richmond.

"It will be a great pleasure to welcome the global body of United Methodist delegates and friends to the city of Richmond, capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia," said Bishop Charlene Kammerer, who leads the church in most of the state.

"We lift up our earnest prayers to serve the United Methodist Church with Christian and southern hospitality," she added.

With more than 340,000 members, the Virginia Annual (regional) Conference is the largest in the U.S. There are more than 1,200 local churches served by nearly 1,800 clergy. It covers the entire state except for the southwestern corner, which is part of the Holston Annual Conference.

Gail Murphy-Geiss of Centennial, Colo., chair of the Commission on the General Conference, said Richmond was chosen because of the strong United Methodist presence in the region, its convenient location for many U.S. travelers, and the city's easy-to-use convention facility.

One of the benefits of the 600,000 square foot convention center, she said, is the potential for holding worship in the nearby arena while plenary sessions take place in the large convention hall. There is a United Methodist church nearby, and all hotels for delegates and visitors should be within an eight-block radius.

Richmond is a popular site for religious organizations to hold their national gatherings. In 2004, three denominations, Presbyterian Church USA, Pentecostal Church International, and American Baptist Churches USA held their national meetings in Richmond. In 2008, the Church of the Brethren is scheduled to hold its national gathering in the convention center.

Janene Charbeneau, spokesperson for the Richmond Metropolitan Convention Center and Visitors Bureau, said the bureau has conservatively estimated the 2012 General Conference will add at least $12 million to the region's economy.

The site of the General Conference traditionally has rotated between each of the five U.S. jurisdictions of the church. The 2004 General Conference was held in Pittsburgh in the church's Northeastern Jurisdiction. In 2000, it was held in Cleveland in the North Central Jurisdiction; 1996 Denver, Western Jurisdiction; and in 1992, Louisville, Ken., Southeastern Jurisdiction.

News media contact: Stephen Drachler, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5411 or sdrachler@umcom.org.

********************

United Methodist News Service
Photos and stories also available at:
http://umns.umc.org

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2004 General Conference Resolution:

The United Methodist Church has denounced the continued use of Native American names as nicknames for sport teams as racist and dehumanizing. Respecting the Native American legacy and tradition has been a critical issue for the General Commission on Religion and Race and the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns.

United Methodists have not been the sole voice on this issue. Many other communions, religious groups, and secular organizations have addressed this concern in the form of statements, articles, protests, and resolutions. However, in spite of these efforts, Native American names and symbols are still being used by sport teams.

WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church is committed to the elimination of racism within the church and within society, and

WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church is equally committed to participate actively in the continued struggle of building the true community of God where reconciliation comes together with justice and peace, and

WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church rejects the use of Native American names and symbols for sport teams, and considers the practice a blatant expression of racism:

Therefore, be it resolved, that the General Conference calls upon all the general agencies, annual conferences, and United Methodist Church- related organizations and institutions, upon selecting locations for their meetings and events in cities that sponsor sport teams using Native American names and symbols, to hold meetings and events in cities that do not sponsor sport teams using Native American names and symbols, and make public the position of The United Methodist Church regarding sport teams using Native American names and symbols.

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