Racial Equity as a Spiritual Practice

Dear DCC friends,

I would like to invite you to join me in participating in DCC’s upcoming congregational training…

Racial Equity as a Spiritual Practice: A Six-Week Series
Sundays, June 27 – August 1
11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Via Zoom, from the Sanctuary, or from home
Sign up here!

Participants are asked to make a commitment to attend all six sessions. This training series, offered by Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training, will help our DCC family develop a shared language and awareness around racial justice, which will help us grow into the beloved community that God dreams for us. This training is a part of a church-wide change process that DCC is undertaking to live into our Vision 2028.

This spring, the DCC Racial Literacy Leadership Cohort, 24 DCC leaders including staff, Session & congregation members, trained together with Crossroads. I found our training to be life-giving, vulnerable, uncomfortable, challenging, confusing, powerful, transformational, and sacred work.  

My hope is that this congregational training will help us ground ourselves spiritually, build a shared language, and create a foundation that will allow us to move forward together into shared action to grow racial justice in our church, our community, and the world.

Folks can join this training in-person in the Sanctuary following worship, or via Zoom. The training will be cumulative, so participants are asked to commit to all six sessions. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at emilymhenderson@gmail.com, or contact Session members Scott Jones or Jerry Wang.

Thank you for considering this opportunity.

Yours in faith,
Emily Henderson

she/her/hers
Session Member


A Church-wide Journey

DCC’s Session leaders – in collaboration with our Diversity and Inclusion Work Group and our Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministry – have hired Jessica Vazquez Torres from Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training to lead DCC in a year-long training process.  We believe this investment of financial resources, time, and energy will be critical to helping us grow toward our vision.   This process will have three components:

  • Pastoral Leadership Coaching for Pastor Chris and Pastor Eunbee – 2021
  • Capacity Building for the staff, Session members, & selected leaders – Spring
  • Congregational Racial Equity Capacity Building: A Six-Week Series to Build Shared Language and Frameworks for our Congregation – Summer

Congregation Series
Mark your calendars and plan to be part of this summer’s 100-person congregation training which will take place on Zoom:

Congregational Racial Equity As A Spiritual Practice
A Six-Week Series 

Sundays, 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
June 27 – August 1, 2021 
Via Zoom, from the Sanctuary or from home 

Through this series, DCC members will gain shared language and frameworks to deepen our conversations about racism and develop a critical lens that will keep the practice of equity centered in the mission and ministry of the church. The series will explore: 

  • What is systemic racism?
  • How are systemic and structural racism connected to the ideology of white supremacy?
  • What is the relationship between power and racism?
  • How has Christianity, actively and passively, upheld and legitimized racism and white supremacy?
  • What is antiracism?
  • What is the role of the church in the face of the structural spiritual injustice that is racism? 

 We ask that all participants approach this opportunity with prayerful intention and commit to attending all six sessions.

Due to the generosity of several donors, there is no fee to you as a participant. 

All Are Invited
 We hope this project is broad in its appeal and will have important effects on our congregation’s entire mission and ministry. We believe it will help us all become more conscious of the ways we can grow in our awareness of the way race affects our lives. 

 This series is optional and no one needs to feel compelled to participate. As we live into our Vision 2028, opportunities to educate ourselves, engage as a community, and advocate for racial justice will continue to emerge.

 DCC’s Vision 2028
Over the past year, and throughout the centuries before, we have witnessed racial injustice and the violent impacts of white supremacy in our world.  Our faith calls us to respond.  And, here at DCC, our Vision 2028 calls us into concrete action with these words:

On Diversity: We will increase our diversity—race, ethnicity, age, gender identity, socio-economic status, and more—in order to more fully represent our state, nation, and world. We must intentionally shift away from white cultural dominance and embrace flourishing pluralism as the way of the future. Conscious pluralism is a parable of Christ’s gospel; it is one of the key gifts Christian spirituality can offer the 21st-century world.

On Action: We will seek to embody the ways Jesus challenged the assumptions, structures, and systems of power and privilege that created injustice, oppression, and abuse, and kept in power those who benefited from their positions of privilege. We will embody the courageous way of divine love not only outside the congregation but inside it as well—facing our own complicity with injustice and our blindness to its effects. We will give voice to the voiceless, advocate for the marginalized, and leverage our power to create a community and world where “there is no needy person among us” (Acts 4.34) and where the creation is no longer languishing in despair (Romans 8.21).

Acknowledging Discomfort
If you feel uncomfortable, skeptical, or nervous, please know we are right there with you.  This is our first time undertaking a congregation-wide change process to create racial justice.  We can guarantee that this process, like all change processes, will be messy.  

Our goal, as we move deeper into this work, is to grow into a community where people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds are cherished and loved.  But naming the reality of white supremacy present everywhere in our culture, and dismantling it within ourselves, as well as our community policies, structures, and practices will be challenging, vulnerable work.  The purpose of this work is not to shame our white members or to tokenize our church members of color. Rather, we seek to gain clarity through truthful conversations that help us learn where we are in the journey of becoming a fully inclusive, loving, and just community. Any assessment of health involves an honest review of the past and recommendations for the next steps. Ignoring the past, forbidding any mention of the topic of race, or taking on blame and shame do not help dismantle racism. For some, our process may feel too fast, while others may feel it is painfully overdue. In all this, our Session Leaders pray that this process will help us experience one another’s roots with openness and compassion. We are inviting each of us to lean into vulnerability and recognize our deep interconnectedness toward mutual wholeness. We believe this work will help us grow into the beloved community that God dreams for us.   

Gratitude
We are deeply grateful to:

  • The anonymous donors whose gifts are making this church-wide training possible
  • Diversity and Inclusion Work Group, who have been working hard to create positive change in our DCC community.  DCC’s internal efforts in the area of racial justice have included sermon series, Integrated Spirituality classes, and Racial Healing Circles.  Their work has laid the foundation and brought us to this point.   
  •  Compassion, Peace, and Justice Ministry for supporting and nurturing this process.

Questions?
If you have questions about the church-wide process or about the congregational series in particular, please contact Session Member Emily Henderson at emilymhenderson@gmail.com or 530-401-6688.  Session members Scott Jones and Jerry Wang are also available.

Yours in faith,

DCC Session
Maria Cartwright, Buildings & Ground Liaison
Ruth Coleman, Personnel Committee Liaison
Bob Fung, Compassion, Peace and Justice Liaison
Emily Henderson, Finance Support Liaison
Vicki Ito, Children’s Ministry Liaison
Scott Jones, Adult Ministries Liaison
Deborah Jory, New Expression Liaison
Sam Koenig, Youth Elder
Roger Kingston, Buildings & Ground Liaison
Emily March, Worship Liaison
Blayne Morgan, Youth Liaison
Jerry Wang, Congregational Care Liaison
JoAnn Diel, Clerk of Session
Pastor Chris Neufeld-Erdman
Pastor Eunbee Ham


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