Written by Anthony Moujaes
Acting in response to feedback from those members who have been engaged in Sacred Conversations on Race -- starting with General Synod 28 in Grand Rapids, Mich. in 2009 -- new resources have been created to help expand the conversation by examining how racism intersects with other issues.
"People want to know concretely how racial injustice is manifested in society, and what it looks like. And that's why we look at the intersections," said the Rev. Elizabeth Leung, UCC minister for racial justice.
Leung developed the updated resources, called the "Race and..." series. It's a free resource that conferences, associations, congregations and church members can download and share. The series can help churches discuss the topic of race in a variety of settings, all while working toward racial justice. Sacred Conversations can take place in bible study, adult education sessions, or prayer groups.
"We want to provide something for church use, and make sure it's accessible to help people enter into the topic and make it their own so they have examples of what we're talking about and how to address it," Leung said.
Sacred Conversation on Race began in 2008 as a church-wide initiative, with conversations taking place in local churches, associations, and conference settings. The goal of Sacred Conversations is to engage the issue of race based on where individuals are, realizing there is work for all to do.
There are six topics in the new series, and more topics to follow in the future:
- Race and Voting Rights
- Race and Poverty
- Race and the Environment
- Race and Public Education
- Race and Criminal Justice
- Race and Arab Americans
Each two-page factsheet has three major sections: First, stories and examples to illustrate race and the justice topic; second, scriptures or prayerful reflection that ground the justice issue; third, engaging questions to assist local church folk to connect the dots between faith experience, the racial justice issue, church life in their particular community.
"Racial justice is not just for some, but it's a goal for all, and to do that you have to engage all [people], not just some. And then the whole community becomes a beloved community," Leung said.
The Rev. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister for the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries, told an audience at a recent meeting that the conversation will always continue. "Sacred Conversations on Race will never end. It is part of our journey," Jaramillo said.
To continue the conversation on racial justice in society, visit http://www.ucc.org/justice/racism/intersections