Dear Beloved of God,
On Sunday we shared our reactions with one another to the violence that occurred last week in both Washington DC and various other places across the country. We considered how we, as people of Christian faith, ought to respond to the challenges our country is currently facing. It was the consensus of those in worship that we need first to talk about difficult subjects with those with whom we share at least some commonalities before we can dare to enter into conversation with those who have opinions that are at the extreme opposites of our own. It appears our thoughts on this subject are not far off from those of the national body of the UCC.
In their statement condemning “the insurrection that took place at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021” the Elected Officers of the United Church of Christ named this as a time “for the church, in all denominational contexts, to release support of white power and white privilege and to embrace fully the call to follow Jesus.” We, as members of the United Church of Christ, have been asked to engage not only in moments of “sober reflection and fervent prayer”, but also “brave conversation and a willingness to break down the barriers between us and within our communities.”
And so, beginning this week, I will be offering opportunities for us to be in conversation about the role of racism in our collective story as Christians. This is not a simple exercise in academic musings but rather a real time necessity if we hope to be genuine witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus in Berkshire and Columbia counties.
The resources that I intend to use will include:
A documentary video called: White Savior: Racism in the American Church. This one hour video explores the historic relationship between racism and American Christianity, the ongoing segregation of the church in the US, and the complexities of racial reconciliation. You can find it using this link: https://www.amazon.com/White-Savior-Racism-American-Church/dp/B07ZS6B9FB/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3R8L29CDD43K3&dchild=1&keywords=white+savior+racism+in+the+american+church&qid=1610401009&sprefix=white+savior,aps,189&sr=8-1
A UCC study resource: White Privilege: Let’s Talk – A Resource for Transformational Dialogue which can be downloaded here: https://www.sneucc.org/files/files/documentsmissionjustice/white-privilege-curriculum.pdf
Please take time to view the video and review the UCC study in preparation for our discussions. I will likely plan a mid-week evening Zoom session, but also hope to integrate the material into our Sunday morning services.
Thank you for taking this critical step with me.