Most of our adult faith studies include Jesus’ “great commission:” to go out and spread His good news, to serve others. Fulfilling this commission can put us on the path to becoming apostles. But how do we do that?

Our “Mission Focus” efforts provide us with 8-week modules that help us to understand issues that face our world and, more importantly, help us to see what we can do about them. In other words, they teach us to spread Jesus’ message of love and service.

Our current focus: Faith and Race!

Segment 1: Faith & Racial Equity – Exploring Power and Privilege

Monday evenings @ 7 pm, September 13 to November 08

Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/94126305021?pwd=bHJDNno0SGxyRGlMa1U0SUw3RzJHZz09
Meeting ID: 834 4229 6915 / Passcode: 090385

Study Description: The issue of race in America has escalated over the past many months … and we have heard many appeals to better understand the situation, the role each of us plays in it, and what we can do. At St. Joan, we’re taking steps toward doing that by again offering the 3-part study from JustFaith: Our Faith and Race study includes three segments. While we recommend taking all three studies in order, you may elect to take any combination of the three. Below are descriptions of each section:

Section 1: Faith and Racial Equity – Exploring Power and Privilege

This study invites us to formulate our own Christian-rooted responses to racism in our churches, workplaces, and communities. By fostering active listening, dialogue, and prayer, we will be rooted in trust and compassion, gaining new insights and awareness of privilege and racism. Through spiritual grounding and community-building, we will find support and belonging through our journey to personal transformation and social action.

This study will:

  • Awaken us to aspects of our world that empower some … and oppress others:
    • Economic systems
    • Public policies
    • Cultural norms
    • Hidden biases
  • Introduce a framework for understanding and recognizing racial disparities in power and privilege
  • Take a deep dive into specific issues related to power and privilege, including:
    • Affirmative action
    • School-to-prison pipeline
    • The criminal justice system
    • Powerful biases in media representation
  • Explore how our faith should inform our response to their learning as well as action steps for working toward racial equity in our own communities.

We will learn from articles, videos, and resource books (White Fragility, I’m Still Here and 40 Days of Prayer). 

This process may challenge our thinking about systemic racism, its causes, and its impact, while helping us to discern practical steps to address it. 

Section 2: Faith and Racial Healing – Embracing Truth, Justice and Restoration

This study continues our journey of increasing awareness of systemic racism in our environments: we will explore the ravages of slavery in America, the Reconstruction Era, the 100 years that followed … and the dramatic impact that abuse and injustice had, and continue to have, on our black brothers and sisters.

This study will take us back to the roots of racism and injustice in the American church, giving us examples of the ways people of faith have actively worked against racial justice.

We will learn the truth about the history of racism in the United States so that we might work toward true reconciliation with God and restoration with one another. And, looking forward, we will identify the cultural and institutional tables that must be flipped to bring about progress and foster a more equitable and inclusive environment among God’s people.

We will learn from articles, videos, and resource books (The Color of Compromise, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, and 40 Days of Prayer.)

Section 3: Faith and Racial Justice – Changing Racial Systems and Structures 

In this study, we will examine our own individual racial biases and choose words and actions that uphold the dignity of all people. And, because racism is tightly woven into the systems and structures that govern our daily lives, we will equip ourselves to seek God’s justice in a way that is effective and meaningful.

We will learn how racism within our economic systems determines where we live and how we live; what schools we go to and whether we thrive while there; whether we will go to prison; and whether we have enough food on the table.

We will learn how to influence changes to public policy within our systems and structures (perhaps the most urgent and effective way to dismantle racism in our local communities and in our nation) through reforms in areas such as the criminal justice system, fair housing, the racial wealth gap, and racism within the church.

We will explore how racism within our institutional structures — including our national and local governments, our workplaces, and even our own churches — intentionally and unintentionally maintain policies and practices that empower some and disempower others.

Throughout our journey, we will delve into the Epistle of St. James, an often-overlooked book of the Bible, due to its challenging nature. St. James insists that merely believing the right doctrine is not enough; true faith also mandates that we seek justice and care about those who are marginalized.

Join us! For more information, contact Rosemarie McKenney.