NEW! The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has launched Talking About Race, a new online portal designed to help individuals, families, and communities talk about racism, racial identity and the way these forces shape every aspect of society, from the economy and politics to the broader American culture. “The portal offers a wealth of resources to inform and guide discussions—videos, role-playing exercises, targeted questions and more,” said Spencer Crew, interim director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “We hope that people will use this site to become more comfortable about engaging in honest dialogue and self-reflection.” More information about the portal. Visit the Talking About Race website.
On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Arbery, 25, left home and went for a jog. During his run, two white men follow Ahmaud, confront him with a loaded shotgun, assume he’s a suspected criminal, and within minutes of their encounter–according to the recorded video–three shots are fired. Amhaud falls to the ground and dies.
“Racism is a virus. It infects the spirit.” (The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III)
The United Church of Christ invites you to rewatch Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III’s cinematic sermon entitled, “The Cross and the Lynching Tree: A Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery.” Immediately following the live video, a panel of four respected thought leaders, racial justice advocates and UCC pastors discussed the impact of historical and present-day acts of racism and violence towards African Americans. And they discussed how the Christian Church can be actively involved in dismantling racism.
This is an adult curriculum created by the United Church of Christ that’s designed to invite church members to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive, and bold conversations on race.
“As an extension of our ongoing commitment to Sacred Conversations on race, it is time that this still largely white denomination wrestle with its investment in whiteness, and learn all it can about the manifestations and impact of White Privilege,” said the Rev. John Dorhauer, UCC general minister and president. “This Curriculum, written by five gifted authors with decades of experience teaching about race and privilege, is presented to enable such dialogue to take place at every level of the Church.”
This curriculum is available on the UCC web site, downloadable in PDF format, and is free of charge. It can be used by any church regardless of size or budget. Divided into four focused parts, each one introduces a different aspect of the dynamic of white privilege. The materials include questions for discussion and reflection. Resources include Curriculum and Lesson Outline, and Facilitator Resources. Learn more and download here
On Behalf of Our Children: Wisconsin’s Racial Disparities and the Call of the Gospel – A Study-Action Guide for Wisconsin Congregations
This excellent curriculum was created by the Wisconsin Council of Churches’ Peace and Justice Commission. It is user-friendly and aimed at majority white churches that have not had many, if any, discussions on race. In this time of division and anger in our country and state, we need to find ways to talk about differences and resolve conflicts that are often caused by lack of understanding of another group of people. Learn more
This is a curriculum that puts together several Biblical passages with various facts, questions and situations dealing with racial issues. It is becoming very clear to more people that issues of race in the United States need serious consideration, discussion and action; and for Christians, the Bible should be the foundation for our thinking about social, moral and political issues.
There is a question, of course, about the authority that an individual Biblical passage should have, and about the way passages should be interpreted. Virtually no one takes Jesus literally when he says that if our hand causes is to sin, we should cut it off; and if our eye causes us to sin, we should pluck it out. Likewise, we do not take Paul literally when he imposes different demands on women than on men. One of the issues of this study should be to discuss how seriously, literally and extensively we should take the passages which are presented.
The producers of this curriculum hope that using it may facilitate good discussions and maybe even actions based on those discussions. We also see the curriculum as one way to discuss racial issues in preparation for the 2019 General Synod of the UCC being held in Milwaukee. Learn more and download here
A lesson plan for youth groups, by Heather Vanderkin, Lay Academy participant
Heather Vanderkin developed this curriculum on racism and prejudice for the youth group at her church after reading the book “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” in her Faith Foundations Lay Academy class. Access the curriculum here