To be Anti-Racist/Pro-Reconciling
means that our congregation has a deep and abiding commitment to honor
the worth, dignity, gifts, and ministry of ALL of God's children,
celebrating our differences in race, ethnicity, national origin,
language and culture. This also means we ACTIVELY work to
eradicate racism in our personal and communal lives and to the inclusion
of people of many races in the full life and leadership of the
congregation, just as Jesus would have us do.
Anti-Racism/Pro-Reconciliation Resources, CLICK HERE!
Anti- Racism Team News by Janelle Eccleston
On Saturday November 20th, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. the ARC Team will be having
our next sponsored event, “ Second-Hand Clergyman” to be held in the
chapel. Suggested donation at the door will be one canned food item to
be donated to our own Food Bag program. One dollar raffle tickets will
go on sale October 16th through November 14th for a drawing for anyone
interested in having a simple makeover during the event and having their
own “reveal” the night of the show. The winner’s outfit will be chosen
from FCCC’s own clothing room to show the community the great resource
our Clothes Closet really is!
Haircut and / or
makeup will be included, but optional! One name will be drawn on
November 15th and all proceeds will be donated toward the purchase of a
new sound system for the church. Winner must be present on the 20th to
get the “makeover” and have their reveal.
In addition to the
drawing, our own Pastor Allen will be dressed for a Sunday service from
head to toe for twenty dollars ( or less) from Unique Thrift Store and
his before and after “Big Reveal” will be the night of the event, hence
the title “Second Hand Clergyman.” Throughout the evening tips on saving
money and stretching a dollar in these economically challenging times
will be presented, from making your own cleaning products, low-cost
recipes, and cheap health and beauty tips. Refreshments will be
provided. Please mark your calendars and plan to come out for a
fun-filled, informative event!
Meditation: October 3, 2010 ~ Elder Janelle Eccleston
This is the
Reconciling Offering 2010 as well as World Communion Sunday. World
Communion Sunday celebrates our oneness as followers of Christ while the
Reconciliation Ministry Offering confronts our continued divisiveness,
The world which God has reconciled is present at every communion.
Communion signifies what our world is to become, a universal communion
in the Body of Christ, a Kingdom of justice, love, and peace in the Holy
We are called to
commit ourselves to transformation doing the works of Jesus. This
transformation begins, as we are told in Romans, by “ accepting one
another, as Christ accepted you, for the glory of God.” Transforming
this vision into reality will take deliberate efforts, change, and a
healing of wounds.
Jesus gave His life to
unite us as one. This is the greatest sacrifice of all! Is it too much
then to ask that we give up our own pride and our love of feeling
superior? Jesus said of the bread, “ This is my body.” When we act as
though we are divided, we then divide the Body of Christ. All members of
Christ’s body are called to labor alongside the oppressed toward the
freedom and respect which is promised to all with the coming of the
Kingdom. The Lords Supper is but one reminder of our own unity. The Holy
Bible repeatedly tells us that the church is also His body. When we
break the bread at communion it binds us to one another in peace.
All people are the
children of the same god. God is recognizable in the face of every
woman, man, and child. Many of these people are still waiting to be
recognized, for us to love them, and give them dignity and hope. The
book of Ephesians sets forth the manner that ought to characterize
Christians as they relate to one another. We have been instructed in the
Lords ways: now we must walk in them and learn to live in harmony,
unity, peace, and enduring justice for all. The dictionary definition of
“enduring” is: to continue in the same state: to remain firm under
suffering or misfortune without yielding: to undergo esp. without giving
in. Enduring justice, then is to act justly not only when we meet on
Sunday morning for worship, but every day and hour outside this church
in places we may meet with resistance or people who even despise us and
persecute us! We must be willing, as Jesus was, to risk rejection when
we are obedient to Christ’s commands and His redemptive mission.
God seeks those who
are willing to go on mission with Him .When we live a life committed to
God’s mission on earth, all adversaries and enemies will become friends:
Arabs and Israelis
The English and the Irish
White and Black South Africans
Bosnians Serbs and Croations
Americans and Iraquis
Muslims and Christians
White Americans and Black Americans, as well as
Hispanics and Asians
And dare I say, straight people and Gay?
It is well to remember that oppression takes a toll on all people.
Communion brings with it a time for passionate repentance and is a time
for justice to come among us. The Eucharist is the great sacrifice of
praise by which the church speaks on behalf of the whole creation, and
this is the glory of God manifest in our midst!
Anti-Racism Team Meeting for December 2009
Anti-Racism Team Plans For Winter & Spring
by Janelle Eccleston
The Anti-Racism Team met on Thursday, December 3 in the chapel for our
monthly meeting. In attendance were Pastor Allen, Michelle Brown, Brenda
Torrey, Jada Eccleston, and Janelle Eccleston. The main focus of the
meeting was spent discussing our progress toward starting a Gospel
Choir at Franklin Circle. At this time we have several candidates
from outside the church who are willing to help guide us in our effort,
and Pastor Allen and other congregants will be interviewing the
candidates after a Start Up Team is assembled to make the process run
smoothly and to ensure the person selected is a good fit for our
endeavor. All candidates for the job come well recommended. We assigned
team members various congregants names to call for a meeting set for
January 10, 2010 directly after church service (12:30), to assist us
in the selection and start up process. At this time the team is quite
excited and optimistic about putting this choir together! All who would
be interested in singing in the choir, or who have other musical
talents, are encouraged to attend this meeting on January 10th at 12:30
On January 21, 2010, which is the third Thursday of the month, the
Anti-Racism Team will be sponsoring the Widening the Circle Forum from
6:30 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. The event will be “Dinner and a Movie”, and we
will be serving a lite dinner menu and other refreshments. The feature
movie will be “Imitation of Life” with a short discussion
afterward to process the message in the movie. The film is relevant for
us as it explores various issues of race, relationships, and also
features a solo by Gospel singing star, Mahalia Jackson. The movie
centers around two mothers, one white and one black, and their two young
daughters as they struggle toward womanhood. We will be showing the 1959
version (the first version was released in 1934). The film is adapted
from a novel by the same title, written by Fannie Hurst, and was
directed by Douglas Sirk. Be sure to mark your calendars and plan to
attend, especially if you have never seen the movie!
The Anti-Racism Team would also like everyone to start thinking about
your individual talents and which ones you may like to share with the
church as we are planning a special talent show, “A Night at the
Apollo” with a tentative date for Saturday, April 17, 2010! Maybe
you would like to form a small group to sing or dance, or perhaps you
play a musical instrument or excel in gymnastics and could put together
a short exhibition? We know FCCC is full of marvelous talents and this
will provide an opportunity for those who are interested, to share them
with us, not to mention how much enjoyment a show like this will be!
Start getting your act together and be looking for further information
on this upcoming event.
As you can see the Anti-Racism Team is working hard to explore various
ways in which we can bring all of our members together in community as
we serve our Lord Jesus Christ in a refreshing and harmonious way!
During this season of Advent, may we remember we are all meant to be a
blessing to one another, just as God has blessed us. Our team invites
you to join with us and be devoted together to a mission in building the
Kingdom of Christ; His love knows no boundaries- not of gender, race,
economic status or ability.
“ As effective as individual Christians can
be - and with God’s help one
person acting alone can do mighty things - it is almost always true that
acting in concert we can do even more. When the body of Christ works
in harmony and unison, the most effective kingdom building is done.”
– Bob Briner
Franklin Circle Anti-Racism Team
Meeting Report for November
by Janelle Eccleston
The Anti-Racism Team met November 5 for their monthly meeting. In
attendance was Pastor Allen, Brenda Torrey, Michelle Brown, Janelle
Eccleston, and we welcomed Jada Eccleston, our newest member to the
The meeting focused on a discussion of the caucus we held on music style
in worship service and then planning what direction we want to go as a
team. It was agreed that the caucus was successful in most respects.
Those who attended the caucus were split into two groups: Caucasian and
People of Color. The question posed was based around what types of music
and music related programs the congregants would like to see being sung
and done in worship service. After both groups wrote down their ideas,
the groups were brought back together to share their ideas. The list for
white congregants was quite a bit longer than the list for People of
Color, but their group was also much smaller. What was interesting was
that every suggestion on the list for People of Color was also included
on the list made by the Caucasian group. We found it interesting that
both groups made comments that they would like the music to uplift them
and give them a joyous feeling throughout the day even after they left
One suggestion that the team is working on immediately is the formation
of a Gospel choir. We are currently looking for someone to help lead us
in that endeavor. We are also inquiring within the congregation for
those who would be interested in singing in the choir. Anyone who would
be willing to lend their talents to this endeavor may contact Pastor
Allen or any other team member.
It was unanimous that we as a team keep our focus on only one agenda at
a time, which is music style for now. The team is in agreement that our
efforts toward anti-racism and pro-reconciliation at Franklin Circle
will be much more fruitful if we narrow our focus and do a good job at
one thing at a time.
The team also discussed parishioner resistance to change any of the ways
we conduct worship service as far as music genre. Many exciting things
are happening at FCCC however the heart of our ministry never changes
and we always have an unchanging message. It is quite normal for us as
Christians to get sentimental about our church, but as we incorporate
some new tradition, we don’t throw out the old ones. The Anti-Racism
team is working hard to help make our worship service an experience that
is joyful to everyone within our community which includes many People of
Color, who may or may not be parishioners at FCCC. We believe that some
additions of musical genre would be helpful in assimilating guests to
members. To make this possible we need an enabling environment and must
work as a community to carry our goals to fruition. Just as we are
united in faith and purpose the team endeavors to be united and
intentional with the whole of the congregation to make our church the
most anti racist and pro-reconciling church around! For those who may be
anxious about change, I will leave you with a message from the Bible:
“ Be anxious for nothing but in everything by
prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God: and the
Peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts
And minds through Christ Jesus” ~Philippians 4:6
Update on Franklin Circle's Anti-Racism
by Janelle Eccleston
The Anti-Racism team met September 2, at 4:30 p.m.
along with Anne Sowell, co-chair for the Anti-Racism/Pro- Reconciliation
Commission at the regional level of the denomination. FCCC's current
team consists of Pastor Allen Harris, Brenda Torrey, Michelle Brown, and
Janelle Eccleston. It is our goal to remain visible within the
church as we continue working toward becoming a truly intentionally
diverse and inclusive church and responsive to our community's needs.
Our goal includes fostering reconciliation between People of Color and
people who are Anglo/Caucasian through relationship building. We
want to continue to feel the presence of Christ in shared worship and in
the fellowship of the congregation.
Are we, as a congregation, intentionally racist?
As a team working against racism, we would answer no, not in the sense
of personal prejudice and bigotry. However systemic, institutional
racism runs much deeper than our individual actions and thoughts. Racism
includes culturally engrained systems of power and structures which we
are often not even aware of. As a team we hope to be an
accountable group of people trained in anti-racism so we can help lead
the congregation toward ensuring full participation of people of color
in the life of the church.
One of the ways in which this can happen is by engaging our members in
dialogue, especially those whose voices are not always heard. This
dialogue can often be accomplished by the process of caucusing.
The team's first attempt to meet with only our non-white members to
caucus was not successful. The team has discussed this endeavor
and thinks perhaps the tool of caucus was not explained and/or
understood well enough by our congregants to be successful. In
that light we are planning another attempt at caucusing when we will all
meet at the same time and break into groups of white and non-white
participants. We would meet at a convenient time, perhaps during a
community hour. After each group has engaged in conversation we will
come back together as a whole to discuss what we have learned. As a team
we believe this would feel less divisive.
In this regard you are invited following worship and community hour
on Sunday, October 4 to discuss, using the caucus format, the question,
“What would you like to see in the music and worship life of Franklin
Circle Christian Church?” No decisions will be made, but your
insights and ideas will be recorded.
In a nutshell, caucusing is simply one tool we can use to dismantle
racism by providing a safe and nurturing environment where we can all
talk about race honestly, and then learn from each other's perspectives
about how race affects us as individuals and collectively as well.
It will give us all a chance to take a different look at our church and
find out where we may be lacking in becoming a truly inclusive community
of God, as well as what we are doing well. The Anti-Racism team is
looking to expand our team with new members. We are in need of
members who are people of color, but also welcome anyone who has a true
desire and is willing to commit some time to an intentional growth in
diversity at FCCC. Please see Pastor Allen for details about bow
you can become involved. The next tentative date for a meeting is
October 7, 2009 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. in the chapel.
A Special Offering for Reconciliation
by Janelle Eccleston
Presented in Worship on Sunday, September 30, 2008
Today, we take up the Reconciliation offering, as well as next Sunday,
October 5th (which also is World Communion Sunday). The Reconciliation
offering is the source of funding for our church’s Anti-Racism work at
the general and regional church levels. I am privileged to be on
Franklin Circle’s Anti-Racism Team. It is with humility and gratitude I
had the opportunity to participate in visits to Camp Christian retreats
to learn ways in which we can become a more reconciling and intentional
Christian community here at Franklin Circle. Reconciliation means
embodying the message that “Ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” ( Galations
I am proud to be a member of such a diverse congregation here at FCCC,
and I speak with profound admiration for the forerunners at Franklin
Circle. I regard our church as a living expression of that admiration.
Still, I believe that like anything worthwhile, there is always more
work to be done. Anti-racism work must include honest dialogue between
the races and different cultures. This is what some of the money from
the Reconciliation offering does- brings Christian disciples together to
discuss honestly how Blacks and other non-white cultures have been
affected by generations of slavery, oppression, and exploitation. We
have to learn to be good listeners despite the uncomfortableness or
tension we may feel.
Tension is not always equal to conflict. Tension may produce conflict,
but it is not in itself conflict. For example, when violin strings have
the right tension, they can be used to make beautiful music (1).
Similarly, honest dialogue can produce a creative tension in
relationship which in turn causes the relationship to be a growing one.
Those who share these conversations are being renewed and transformed,
and reconciliation can begin.
Communion is one of the central acts of our church’s worship. We receive
the Eucharist as a gift from the Lord. The gift of God in Christ is not
for the church but for all men and women. The Eucharistic celebration
calls for Reconciliation and sharing among all those regarded as
brothers and sisters in the one Family of God.
All types of injustice, racism, separation and lack of freedom are
challenged when we share in the body and blood of Christ. As
participants in communion, we prove inconsistent if we are not actively
taking part in an ongoing restoration of our world’s state of affairs
and the human condition. We can not allow differences of sex, race, or
social status to divide the body of Christ.
As Christians, we are appointed as ministers of reconciliation. When
Christ dwells within us, we become His ambassadors, and we entreat
others to be reconciled to Him (II Corinthians 5:20). God sent Christ to
make peace between Himself and us, and He has given us the work of
making peace between Himself and others.
The Reconciliation offering provides our congregation the chance to take
part in a church-wide endeavor to eliminate racism in our communities by
teaching the root causes of systemic racism and structural oppression,
and then the means to combat these systems in society.
Take a few seconds to meditate on all that your Lord has given to you
and resolve to express your gratitude to Him today through your generous
(1)Howe, R.L., The Miracle of Dialogue, 1963, p.63
Resources provided on this page are intended to help our congregation
in its discussion of issues of critical importance to our faith.
Reconciliation Mission of the
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
We So Different' exhibit opens at Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Plain Dealer Reporter
[Details about the exhibit are listed below
Can a museum exhibit rock your world? Cause you to question your core
beliefs and instill an urge to go debrief with the nearest somebody?
"Race: Are We So Different?" the ambitious exhibit that arrives here
Saturday for a three-month stay at the Cleveland Museum of Natural
History, is determined to try.
It starts off with a wallop of a message, brought to you by the American
Anthropological Association and the Science Museum of Minnesota, which
is basically: Guess what? The racial identities that you've spent your
life assigning to yourself and other people? They're more imagined than
Three years ago, when officials at Cleveland's natural history museum
first learned about the exhibit, they instantly agreed to bring it to
Cleveland, spokeswoman Marie Graf said. They found themselves intrigued
by the way the exhibit cools down the heated emotions of race
discussions by providing layers of fact.
"This isn't the way people typically talk about race. The whole exhibit
is based on scientific research. Nobody's ever done that before," Graf
Who would have thought that three years later, the nation would be
overtly grappling with race, as a result of the presidential race?
Members of the exhibit selection committee certainly hadn't.
"It's amazing this is happening right now. People are so aware of these
issues. We're going to kick this up a notch and make them really face
it," Graf said.
The exhibit makes the case that although race has been a powerful
cultural agent in our nation's past, all humans actually are similar
once you peel past that top layer of skin and poke around inside.
The DNA strands twisting through the cells of any one individual,
whether that person be black, white, Asian or Latino, bear surprisingly
similar patterns to all other humans, especially when compared with the
genetic variance in other species.
Consider: Although all chimpanzees may look alike, they have more than
twice as much genetic diversity as humans do. That's because today's
species of chimps have existed much longer than modern humans have.
Dots on an exhibit map show that all humans originated in Africa,
between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago. After many centuries, humans
began migrating through Asia to Europe and points beyond to colonize the
world. There's no gene a person living in the United States would have
that a person living in Africa would not have.
Skin color, the exhibit holds, is really a superficial thing. The
different shades of skin color evolved worldwide as a way of adapting to
the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Scientists can't identify a person's race just by inspecting his bones.
"It's in our minds and our social institutions, not our bodies," the
Linda Spurlock, the museum's director of human health, agrees. "There's
no necessity to classify people into races," she said. "As an anatomist,
I noticed from dissecting cadavers that if you take the skin off
somebody, everyone looks the same."
The traveling exhibit holds that race is in the eye of the beholder -
and the way we categorize ourselves racially says a lot about the
country where that beholder was raised.
For instance, in the United States, we tend to classify people as white,
black, Latino, Asian or mixed. Yet Brazilians do it very differently,
using more than 100 terms to identify people by the shade of their skin,
ranging from bem-branca (very white) to morena clara (light tan) to
parda (dark brown), according to the exhibit.
Scientists say these differences in the way people are categorized are
proof that racial categories aren't scientifically valid and are merely
a social invention.
A probing review of racism in America
The exhibit then jumps into the history of race and racism, stating
authoritatively that discrimination and racial superiority are embedded
in America's past.
One section gives a poignant glimpse of how racism uprooted the lives of
the Americans who were already here when Europeans arrived.
Photos and text tell the story of how federal lawmakers in the 1880s,
determined to obliterate American Indian cultures, removed Indian
children from their homes and placed them in boarding schools. They were
forbidden to speak their language or practice their religion.
One photograph shows a half-dozen Chiricahua Apache children as they
arrived at the Carlisle Indian school in Pennsylvania in 1886, with long
hair and native dress. A second picture shows the same children four
months later, wearing buttoned-up school uniforms and the same tidy
haircut. All traces of ethnic identity had been scrubbed away.
Just a step away is a section titled "One Person's Mascot . . .," where
toothy Chief Wahoo is seen grinning from a red souvenir baseball. "Where
some people see cherished traditions, others see racist stereotypes,"
the text reads.
On a video screen, American Indians are shown proudly identifying their
tribes and describing their lives. One woman states that she is a
mother, a nurse, a person with feelings. "I'm not a mascot," she says
Yet Chief Wahoo is a beloved symbol to many Clevelanders. It's easy to
predict that on this one hot-button topic alone, and probably on many
others, the exhibit will provoke disagreement and heated emotions.
That's why the natural history museum is creating "reaction corners"
where people can come together and talk about what they've seen. Trained
diversity professionals will come in on certain days to spark discussion
and facilitators will be available upon request for group tours.
Staff at the museum last week received sensitivity training, "so they
know how to react to people" exiting the exhibit, Graf said.
Organizers of "Race: Are We So Different?" hope it will encourage
attendees to try on other people's shoes - or, put another way, to see
how it would feel to walk a mile in their moccasins.
The wealth gap starkly illustrated
A section on race and the wealth gap is perhaps the biggest stunner. "If
nothing else gets you, this will," said Kathryn Hall, resource
specialist for the exhibit.
Piles of $20 bills have been placed in glass boxes, to represent the
average net worth of families according to race, using 2000 figures
collected from the U.S. Census Bureau. Net worth is defined as a
person's assets, minus his or her debts.
Inside a clear and squat square labeled "black," there are three bundles
of twenties, totaling $6,000. Next to it is a similarly modest-sized
pile for Latinos: four bundles, totaling about $8,000.
The pile for Asians is much taller, at 29 bundles high - signifying a
net worth of $58,000.
And inside the tallest glass box labeled "white," a stack of 33 bundles
amounts to $66,000 - dramatically illustrating that a white family's net
worth is 10 times higher than that of blacks and Hispanics.
Much of the disparity, the exhibit explains, is because a white person's
opportunity to own a home in areas with higher housing values is
markedly higher than for members of other racial groups.
The displays show how racism's effects endure today, because the
advantages have been doled out unfairly for centuries.
It's a touchy topic and yet an important message for Cleveland to hear,
said Mark Lewine, a professor of anthropology and urban studies at
Cuyahoga Community College. An early champion of the "Race" exhibit,
Lewine strongly supported bringing it to Northeast Ohio.
"This is more than an exhibit," he said. "This is an opportunity to
raise the level of discourse and understanding of human diversity."
Lewine had high praise for Hall's work to create spin-off race
discussions that will spread a message that anthropologists have known
for years. "We're all Obamas," he said, referring to the African and
American ancestry of the Democratic presidential candidate.
"We're all mixtures of many diverse origins. And by far, the greatest
majority of anyone's family tree is Africa. There really is no dispute.
It's a family tree that's very much larger than we've allowed ourselves
to see," he said.
Hall said the community events she's coordinating will focus on the
future. "As a society, we created race. That created differences. How do
we acknowledge that and move forward, to a better society, a more
inclusive society?" she asked. "That's why we brought the exhibit."
Funded by the Ford Foundation and National Science Foundation, "Race"
breaks all the rules governing the way that exhibits usually are set up,
Graf said. Typically placards have two or three lines of text; this one
has many long blocks of text that you have to stand and read.
It also has several longish videos, including "We All Live with Race,"
an interracial collage of people sharing their experiences that lasts
more than an hour. "People just sit and watch. It's very emotional,"
Graf said. "Everybody can relate to something in this exhibit."
The first two prongs of the exhibit are science and history, and the
third is "lived experiences."
And if there's any place where assumptions might bust and hearts open,
it most likely could happen at the video screens, as a rainbow of people
share their stories and reflect on the seemingly irrepressible human
need to oppress someone else.
"Everybody meets some form of discrimination in their lives," Graf said.
"We all face it. We just don't realize that we face it."
To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:
© 2008 cleveland.com All Rights Reserved.
Details about "Race: Are We So Different?" exhibit,
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Museum officials look at the "Race" exhibit as an ice-breaker - it's up
to Cleveland to turn talk into action, they say. To that end, the museum
is offering a slate of race-themed events and a calendar of
awareness-raising events going on locally during the exhibit's run.
Here is a list of events taking place at the Cleveland Museum of Natural
History. All are free, but registration is required. Call 216-231-1177
or visit cmnh.org.
Oct. 1: "A Community Conversation Featuring Marian Wright Edelman" will
be held at 7 p.m. Edelman is president of the Children's Defense Fund
and a best-selling author. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event,
presented with the Allstate Foundation and Facing History and Ourselves.
Oct. 4: "What is Race?" is the title of a town hall meeting at 7 p.m.
that will introduce some of the exhibit's creators, including Yolanda
Moses, an anthropologist and administrator at the University of
California, Riverside. The audience will learn about the making of the
exhibit and the response to it as the exhibit has traveled across the
country. Reception at 6 p.m.
Oct. 7: "Inclusion, Equity, Privilege: Is Corporate America Making
Progress in the 21st Century?" Speaker Eddie Moore Jr., a Seattle
diversity consultant and expert, will talk about the importance of
fostering inclusive cultures in the workplace and provide concrete
strategies for doing so. Reception at 6 p.m., town hall meeting at 7
p.m. Co-sponsored by YWCA, Forest City Enterprises and the Maltz Museum
of Jewish Heritage.
Oct. 10: Urban Professionals Night, an after-work networking opportunity
for young urban professionals, begins at 5:30 p.m. The evening will
feature a speaker who will discuss the changing face of America's race
and its impact on future generations and the workplace. Co-sponsored by
Cool Cleveland, Cleveland365.com, Sankofa Fine Art Plus, Women of Color
Foundation and National Black MBA Association.
Oct. 23: "Race, Health and Biology" is the topic of a town hall forum
set for 7 p.m. A panel of experts from the museum, local hospitals and
universities will address the origins of race and the role of science in
shaping the concept of race and connections to genetic research,
forensic work and biology. Reception at 6 p.m.
Oct. 25: A Community Health and Wellness Fair is set from 10 a.m. to 3
Oct. 28: "What Is Race?" a talk on sociology, biology and health, begins
at 7 p.m. Reception at 6 p.m. Co-sponsored by Cuyahoga Community
Nov. 5: "Let's Talk About Race," a town hall forum that gives people
tools to discuss race in a nonthreatening manner and to sustain the
dialogue. Reception at 6 p.m., forum at 7 p.m. Co-sponsored by Cleveland
Nov. 11: "Race and the Law," featuring a panel of legal professionals,
is set for 7 p.m. This session will examine the history of laws that
govern equal opportunity for all. Reception at 6 p.m.
Jan. 14, 2009: At the conclusion of the "Race" exhibit, the
collaborating partners will be invited to present an event that will
explore the outcomes and results of all the programming relative to the
Cleveland exhibits. The group will present next steps for continuing the
dialogue in Northeast Ohio. Reception at 6 p.m., town hall meeting at 7
© 2008 cleveland.com All Rights Reserved.
July/August Buckeye Disciple, Christian Church
Anti-Racism Pro-Reconciliation Commission
The Anti-racism Pro-reconciliation Commission of Ohio was formed
in 1999 and now consists of 19 individuals who are committed to raising
awareness of the continued presence of racism in our society. By
educating our congregations to the deep-rooted existence of racism that
continues to afflict the daily lives of our brothers and sisters, and by
exploring ways in which we can unwittingly become participants in
systems based upon distorted and outdated social values, we strive
toward ensuring more inclusive and loving communities free from racism
and its attendant evils.
Members of the ‘team’ are committed to learning and to teaching others.
Each member has undergone several levels of training and meets monthly
as a group to discuss progress, problems and to offer encouragement.
Opportunities are available to introduce the subjects of Racism and
Reconciliation to congregations in the Ohio region. These sessions are
90 minutes long and serve as an educational tool for those communities
who are open to raising awareness of and sensitivity to social
For those interested in inviting a trained leader to speak to interested
groups in your congregation please direct inquiries to co-chairpersons,
Anne Sowell and Nichole Mazza-Fredley through the Regional Office. The
commission is also encouraging motivated leaders to join our team to
train for the purpose of providing information to church communities on
how to avoid participating in systems that continue to foster racism.
As a region that is committed to anti-racism and pro-reconciliation as a
core value, we eagerly look forward to a time when racism is eradicated
and where children of God are honored regardless of their racial
RESOLUTION ON AN APOLOGY FOR THE SIN OF SLAVERY
by the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
In its April 2001 meeting the General Board passed a resolution
addressing the sin of slavery.
This act of confession was a powerful moment for those who were gathered
there. However, by
our rules it came too late to be included as a resolution for the 2001
The Regional Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in
a resolution for the 2003 General Assembly apologizing for the sin of
slavery. The General
Board is grateful for the resolution, yet believes that its original
2001 resolution should come to
this Assembly as essentially unfinished business. We therefore offer
this prior act of
repentance as a substitute resolution.
WHEREAS, we fervently believe in the essential dignity and worth of
every human being; and
WHEREAS, we believe God loves every person as a dear and precious child;
WHEREAS, any act or attitude or institution which diminishes any
right to a full, free, productive and peaceful life is clearly contrary
to the will of God; and
WHEREAS, the institution of slavery is unquestionably evil and abhorrent
to God; and
WHEREAS, many religious communities in the United States, including the
(Disciples of Christ), failed to work or speak against the institution
of slavery in the United
States, a wicked apathy which permitted and resulted in untold suffering
among the African
people kidnapped by evil people and sold to Americans to labor without
subjected to inhuman persecutions by their white owners; and
WHEREAS, the effects of these injustices have continued to subject the
descendants of those
Africans to an endlessly continuing mindset which perpetuates the
unfair, unjust and sinful
system of prejudice and racism; and
WHEREAS, Christ has called the church to be an instrument of his
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the General Assembly of the Christian
(Disciples of Christ) meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina October
17-21, 2003, confesses the
corporate guilt we all share for these evils, and heartily begs the
forgiveness of God and of all
God’s children whose lives have been damaged or limited by these sins.
We further pledge and promise that we will earnestly seek through words
and deeds, as
individual Christians and corporately, to demonstrate our sorrow by
committing ourselves to
lives of continuing humility, healing and love toward all those who
still bear the wounds of the
continuous and grievous effects of this historic evil.
endorses variety of anti-racist pro- reconciliation measures
Date: April 26, 2001
Disciples News Service
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Contact:
INDIANAPOLIS (DNS) -- The General Board of the Christian Church
(Disciples of Christ), meeting in Indianapolis April 21-24, issued an
apology to people of African descent for the church's silence on and
lack of action to end the institution of slavery. The body endorsed
other anti-racism pro-reconciliation measures and recommended that the
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) enter into a new ecumenical
relationship with eight other communions.
The board was well into the process of endorsing a call to the U.S.
government to issue a formal apology for slavery when it was reminded
that the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) itself had never issued
such an apology.
At the core of the statement is the admission that the church's apathy
contributed to and prolonged the suffering of blacks enslaved by whites.
The text reads, in part: "Whereas, many religious communities in the
United States, including the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
failed to work or speak against the institution of slavery in the United
States, a wicked apathy that permitted and resulted in untold suffering
among the African people kidnaped by evil people and sold to Americans
to labor without compensation and often subjected to inhuman
persecutions by their white owners ...
"... Now therefore be it resolved that the General Board of the
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) meeting in Indianapolis April
21-24, 2001, confesses the corporate guilt we all share for these evils
and heartily begs the forgiveness of God and of all God's children whose
lives have been damaged or limited by these sins."
Stepping to the microphone to comment on the proposed business item,
African American board member Emily L. Jackson, Memphis, Tenn., was
moved to tears as she explained, "I speak for myself -- that when an
apology is extended, it is to either be accepted or rejected. I
personally accept the apology," she said, "and the spirit in which it
was offered." Jackson's great-grandparents were lured from Africa and
forced into slavery.
Since the apology resolution was a General Board business item, it will
not be presented at General Synod/Assembly for a vote. The text will be
shared in a report to the assembly.
The resolution Concerning Reparations for Slavery will be considered at
General Synod/Assembly. General Board recommended adoption of the
measure. It documents several attempts by the Christian Church
(Disciples of Christ) to address issues arising from slavery and
poverty, but concludes that "these attempts have been limited and
ineffectual and have not directly addressed the issue of the evil of
slavery and have not dealt with the horror of our church's official
silence in the days of the abolitionist movements."
It calls on all expressions of the Christian Church (Disciples of
Christ) to join in active study and education on issues dealing with
reparations for slavery. In addition, it calls on Homeland Ministries
and the Disciples Reconciliation Mission to cooperate with the Justice
Ministries unit of the United Church of Christ and other partners to
make available resources "that tell the truth about the practice of
slavery ... giving faith based reasons for support of a formal apology
for slavery, and that they (members of congregations and church leaders)
might prompt the creation of a Congressional Commission for the study of
The measure also would direct Disciples leaders to call on the U.S.
president and congressional leaders of both parties to "issue an
national apology for participating in and supporting the kidnapping,
exporting and enslaving people of African descent."
Other items acted on by General Board concerned the issues of racism and
The board recommended that General Assembly adopt a resolution titled An
Act of Repentance Calling the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to
be an Anti-racist, Pro-reconciling Community. The measure would declare
that "the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) confesses that racism
is a sin and is a historic and ongoing reality in this church." It would
declare that "the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is called to be
and resolves to become and anti-racist, pro-reconciling communion." It
would demand that "all vestiges of racism be eradicated from the
structures of this church and the structures be transformed in order to
empower people of all racial ethnic groups." It also would direct the
General Board to "establish an anti-racism pro-reconciliation commission
to facilitate the this churchwide transformational commitment."
In General Board-only business, the body approved a measure that
realigns several facets of the church's anti-racism pro-reconciliation
work. It establishes a new entity called the Reconciliation Mission. A
Reconciliation director will give executive staff leadership to the
The board also established an Anti-Racism Commission of the
Reconciliation Mission, a permanent oversight and assistance structure.
It replaces a team of general church executives that has been directing
the work for the last three years. The commission will give guidance and
assistance to the ongoing training and other work designed to help the
church become an anti-racist and pro-reconciling communion. The
commission will be composed of at least nine members elected by the
General Board. The majority of the membership will be racial ethnic
persons. The commission will be accountable to the Administrative
Committee of the General Board and to the biennial assemblies of the
North American Pacific Asian Disciples, the Hispanic and Bilingual
Fellowship and the National Convocation.
The Reconciliation Committee continues as part of the new system. It
will continue to evaluate grant requests and make grants from the
The new plan will be funded from the general church share of the
Reconciliation Fund, 50 percent of the Reconciliation offering. Ten
percent of the general share will go to the Church Finance Council for
promotion and treasury services. Initially, the Reconciliation Committee
will grant up to $90,000 per year for reconciliation ministry
initiatives. The board also approved using Reconciliation Fund reserves
if grant requests exceed $90,000.