COVID-19 Virus and Xenophobia, A Statement from the Inter-Ethnic Strategic Development Group (IESDG)



A Statement from the Inter-Ethnic Strategic Development Group (IESDG), a coalition represented by the five racial ethnic caucuses of the United Methodist Church.

IESDG unequivocally denounce the disturbing and continual use of the term “China or Chinese Virus”, correctly known as the COVID-19 virus.  The term “China/Chinese Virus” is racially loaded and inaccurately depicts the global nature of the disease's threat and the misuse of terms in effect targets and scapegoats several ethnic groups. We urge President Donald J. Trump and other public officials to discontinue the use of the term “China/Chinese Virus” so that misinformation and animosity will be replaced with a love that respects the dignity and sacred worth of every person and community.

The misinformation and the mislabeling of the COVID-19 continue to fuel anxiety, which in turn, escalates racists acts of xenophobia specifically against Asians, Asian-Americans and their communities. The COVID-19 virus and other pathogens do not discriminate between hosts based on gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, immigration status or others.  The origin of any virus could have occurred in any country regardless of race or ethnicity.
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus of the United States Congress stated in February 26, 2020, “The best way to stop the spread of coronavirus is to wash your hands, not perpetuate racist stereotypes. We ask for your help in spreading this message, to help stem both the public health crisis and the deeply disturbing racism targeting the Asian American community.”

On Tuesday March 17th, 2020, Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that it was “absolutely wrong” for the Administration to label the 2019 novel coronavirus as the “China Virus.”  The World Health Organization named the disease COVID-19 to deter associating the virus with a geographical location or select group of people, ultimately lead to their public stigmatization. 
Since its inception in 1992, IESDG have endeavored to remain true to the charge, “to strategize toward the renewal of The United Methodist Church in recognition of the gifts of racial/ethnic minority persons and to advocate for justice ministries within the Church and the world,” among other things.
IESDG represents the five (5) national racial ethnic caucuses of The United Methodist Church:
  • Black Methodist for Church Renewal (BMCR)
  • Methodist Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic/Latino American (MARCHA)
  • National Federation of Asian American United Methodists (NFAAUM)
  • Native American International Caucus (NAIC)
  • Pacific Islander National Caucus of United Methodists (PINCUM)

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at


  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.