The racial justice mission team has the goal of helping our church to become more intentionally anti-racist in its practices. In our church, the “Christian Witness and Service Ministry” is charged with allocating money and organizing outreach activities. Our mission team emphasizes education in the service of faithful discernment of what else we are called to do to make our church more intentionally anti-racist.
We have offered many opportunities for education about racial justice. We researched and presented information about housing issues in Madison. We have toured historic civil rights sites and learned about the movements of the past. We have organized several church-wide book discussion groups on racial justice topics. We sponsored church-wide educational forums on issues of police reform and reparations. We have integrated racial justice issues into the programming of ongoing groups such as our Java and Jesus Sunday discussions. We have organized monthly discussions of films made by African Americans. In collaboration with our pastor, we organized a worship service focused on issues of racial justice.
Looking forward, we are developing more programming in response to members’ desire to learn more about reparations and what it would mean for individuals, our church, and the nation. We are previewing and exploring the possibility of using a university-created “community engagement” curriculum to improve the thoughtfulness with which members approach volunteering in the community. We are learning about the different Black-led and racial justice organizations in our community that our members work with as individuals, and considering whether and how to work with them as a congregation. We share information with our members about opportunities offered by other organizations to educate us about racial justice issues. We have been compiling lists of educational resources to share with our members. We are consulting with other ministries about developing joint programming around topics like environmental justice, teaching children about racial justice, and how to be more inclusive in our practices.
We are researching what other congregations have done to become affirmatively anti-racist. We are seeking to integrate faithfulness to God’s word and discernment as we move toward an active anti-racist stance in practice, not merely empty symbolism.
For more information, contact chair Pam Oliver