Last Saturday night I returned from a four day national UCC Conference where nearly 150 of us gathered in Savannah, GA to imagine the future of ministry in the 21st century. We were conference and associate conference ministers as well as national staff from the 38 United Church of Christ conferences across the country. I met many new colleagues in ministry as well as reconnected with old friends. We resourced one another about best practices in our conferences and shared concerns and challenges that ministry at this time brings to us.
All of this occurred against the backdrop of the significant response in our country to the violent deaths of African American men and youth whose lives have been cut short by police officers. It was a week of increasing concern and frustration as our country seemed to wake up to the need to confront systemic racism and injustice in our country. We were constantly reminded of multiple actions, marches, and protests across the country. Many of us recognized that it is past time for us to raise these issues in our conferences and local churches. None of us is immune from the need to confront our own personal racism as well as the systems that have perpetuated these injustices for too long.
Still being new to Rhode Island, however, I am not clear about how we have addressed these issues or what conversations have already taken place. Have there been Sacred Conversations on Race here in Rhode Island? Are there pastors and churches having such conversations? How might we together develop a process and way to tackle such difficult topics? Where is our Still Speaking God nudging you about these matters? I look forward to hearing from you.
Blessings during this week when the Peace candle has been lighted and when we together yearn for peace with justice.
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