The United Church of Christ is adding another tool, a new set of resources for congregations working on a sacred mission to eradicate racism.
Sacred Conversations to End Racism (SC2ER) is a restorative justice curriculum launching this week, which continues to build on the work of 'Sacred Conversations on Race,' and the UCC's 'Let's Talk: White Privilege' curriculum.
"The United Church of Christ remains committed to being an anti-racist church. However, we are facing a resurgence of tactics and behaviors in America that call for a deeper commitment to eradicate the ongoing practices of oppression, hate speech, individual bigotry, and overt violence against communities of color," said the Rev. Velda Love, UCC Minister of Racial Justice and curator of this new resource. "SC2ER provides new language and strategies to move people beyond anti-racism conversations to active engagement. SC2ER seeks to restore humanity, eliminate myths and stereotypes, and engage in deep truth telling about the construction of whiteness and white supremacy."
It begins with the understanding that race is not real.
"Race does not exist biologically nor anthropologically, neither is there any reference to race in the 66 canonized books of the Bible," said the Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries. "Race is neither scientific nor sacred. Race is not real. Race is an artificial social construct, and it serves a social function, racism. Racism is real. And racism originates from the unholy belief that there are human groups with particular social and physical characteristics that make them superior or inferior to another human group. If there is evil, this is it. And it is the incumbent upon us all to work to eradicate its evil effects on all of humanity for the sake of the Gospel. The United Church of Christ's Sacred Conversations on Race and our White Privilege Curriculum are entry points to this communal work. It is my hope that Sacred Conversations to End Racism will be an additional step we take as a community committed to justice for all."
SC2ER is a key part of the UCC’s call to action in the movement by the National Council of Churches that aims to finish the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—to confront racism and remove it from American culture.
The SC2ER’s 8 week curriculum will be introduced in 4-phases with each interactive learning module intended to draw participants into conversations leading to sustainable action. Participants explore how race was constructed, who constructed and sanctioned race as a model for American society, and what role the Christian Church played in supporting the division of humanity by skin color.
The goal each week is to deconstruct whiteness as the norm in America’s social, political, and religious life. Based on the Bible and through webinars, stories, poetry, artwork and music, the SC2ER curriculum examines the reality that there is no one culture that is dominant over others. God did not create race nor assign Europe and Europeans over and against other human beings. The curriculum underscores Bible lessons, with people of African and Mediterranean descent contributing to the lineage of Jesus Christ, and the development and growth of the Christian faith.
"This 8 week curriculum developed under the skilled eye of Rev. Velda Love challenges us to dig deeper, to be vulnerable, to confront messages and images and beliefs we may have internalized that are antithetical to the Gospel and disruptive to our attempts to live our best lives," Blackmon said. "In months to come we will see additional pieces added to the journey: voices of millennials, social and theological commentaries, assessment tools to help guide our discussions. The work will be challenging if we engage it deeply, but no one will be alone. And with each phase of the journey we will learn more about ourselves and our communities—and our God."
April 13 update: “We are heartened by the interest in this new curriculum, but need to emphasize that SC2ER is not a self-guided resource,” said Rev. Love. “Training facilitators is key, and the cultural work within the resource has to be a priority.”
Information on training sessions for facilitators will be forthcoming.
Bookmark this page for Sacred Conversations on Racism resources and further updates.