God has allowed us as Euro congregations yet another wake up call to take action against racism. Many are using the passion for love and justice Christ has evoked in us to march, to demonstrate and to express in other ways our solidarity with our brothers and sisters of color. Now is not too soon to start planning for the long-term. We have a long way to go to become the change toward anti-racism we now require of our society. Consider these opportunities: You can invite Executive Minister Doug Avilesbernal, along with the Euro Caucus Anti-Racism Team to hold the weekend workshop: “I’m Not Racist, But We Are.” Or, if you do not feel your congregation is ready, you can become part of the Euro Caucus Anti-Racism Network of congregations beginning to weave anti-racism work into the culture of your congregation. Congregants say the workshop gives them great opportunity to explore racial bias. Thirty-three people from Salt Lake City FBC and other EBA congregations in Utah gathered to consider white privilege and racism. The Euro Caucus Anti-Racism Team leaders laid out how white privilege and racial bias operate in society and within each of us, how they develop and what we can do about them. Jane Nelson responded enthusiastically, “I dropped in, not intending to stay, and ended up staying for the entire time. It was well-organized and fast-paced, with each presenter building on the ideas of the previous one. We were encouraged to question and express personal feelings in a safe, loving environment. We were invited to think about other points of view and learn how we might all together make things better for everyone.” Margaret Cheney added, “There were great, yet challenging conversations. Was it worth giving up a Saturday? Absolutely!I am 60 years old and thought I knew the meaning of white privilege. What I didn't understand was how white privilege starts when one is an infant. Through this workshop, I developed a greater understanding of what being "white" truly means in a world full of color.” These and other responses reflect the energy and engagement participants expressed throughout the workshop. Often, they would raise questions emerging from their own lives, encouraging others to think and feel deeply about their experiences. In small groups, participants heard from those who have endured racism, studied Bible passages of Jesus’ leadership in overcoming differences, and discussed research about our blind spots. This gave insight into how easy it is to become defensive and our great opportunity to discover unexplored aspects of ourselves and learn how to talk about our own bias. Executive Minister, Rev. Doug Avilesbernal leads this Euro Caucus team to assist congregations in growing toward a more welcoming and sensitive response to everyone coming through their doors. The team focuses on how we might follow Jesus more fully and so make each of our churches a place where everyone can find a home. If you want to learn more about or schedule an Anti-Racism Workshop or how you might help your congregation move toward anti-racism by becoming part of the Euro Caucus Anti Racism Network, contact Wim Mauldin at email@example.com.
What other Evergreen churches are doing in Anti-Racism Work