Letter from the Minister
“White privilege. If you can’t see it, you got it.”
This statement from the United Church of Christ speaks to the issues of racism that we are attempting to raise at First United. Since the shooting of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri in August of 2014, we have joined in a growing chorus of voices that are seeking to speak our common grief and our participation in the racism that continues to plague our country and lives, especially the lives of those who have browner skins tones.
First United has a long storied history of involvement in the civil rights movement starting in the 1950’s and carrying forward to today. We have a regular meeting focus group called A Sacred Conversation on Race that is an open group that meets on a Sunday morning time. In the links that follow please find more information not only about First United’s involvement but also the leadership and concerns from one of our parent denominations, the UCC.
There are so many concerns in our society but there are none as crucial as race relations. First United is very white and we recognize we are called to step forward from our comfort zones and be active in making connections that truly matter with the rest of our world of people. Toward that aim, we faithfully walk into a joint tomorrow in which all of God’s people are treated relationally and personally with a great enjoyment and respect of all of our colors.
Rev. Jack Skiles, First United Church
United Church of Christ Sacred Conversation on Race
Sacred Conversation on Race is a church-wide initiative for United Church of Christ congregations, as we seek to confront the sin of racism in our desire to see the Church live and be as one.
A Pastoral Letter on Racism: A New Awakening – January 16, 2015
We are aware of our profound need for a new awakening of understanding about race and racism in our midst. As a church of Jesus Christ, we pray that the Holy Spirit will illuminate our hearts and minds and stir us into faithful response to the ongoing manifestation of racism which is evident in tragic and painful ways in our communities.
Racism is racial prejudice plus power. It is rooted in the belief that one group has racial superiority and entitlement over others. Its power is manifested in every institution and system, both nationally and internationally, which was historically established and continues to function to benefit one group of people to the disadvantage of other groups. Awareness and education will help us to become anti-racist individuals and foster the development of anti-racist systems and institutions that can eliminate privilege for some and oppression for others.
The United Church of Christ and its predecessor churches have made a priority commitment to supporting policies and structures that make real our Christian commitment to racial justice. The UCC’s emphasis means more than simply challenging personal prejudices, but involves a commitment to in-depth analysis of societal policies and structures that either work toward the elimination of racism or perpetuate it.
Four Realms of Racism and Change
Racism is manifest in four different social realms: personal, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural. For change to be genuine and lasting, it must encompass all four realms. This resource describes the four realms and offers illustrations of each.
Video Resources for Sacred Conversation on Race