It was a little over 24 hours and 90+ percent of the full-time SCC clergy were there. Joining us as speaker and facilitator was Rev. Ron Buford of “God is Still Speaking” fame. The subject was racism and our introduction to Rev. Ron’s use of AA group practice as applied to racism.
As you would expect via a group of bright and talented women and men, there was discussion about the theoretical basis for an application of the techniques and whether they were applicable to racism concerns. It was a useful discussion.
We gathered together in small groups i.e. AA practice, and it was an intense experience. “Hello, my name is Don and I am a racist.” These are not easy words to say for any UCC clergyperson. However, I must tell you that the discussions in the groups and beyond the group were profound. Things got real, people were honest and it became the most meaningful gathering of a group of clergy in my experience.
One of the eye-opening thoughts to come out of our engagement with Rev. Ron was a definition of racism that goes beyond skin color. If any external appearance leads one to treat another as the “other,” it is a form of racism. If I see you differently because of your size, age, hair length or lack thereof, or any other physical appearance…that is a form of racism.
Afterward, as I read the evaluations, it became even more clear to me the extent to which my sisters and brothers of the cloth affirmed the experience. It also occurred to me once again what an honor and privilege it is to serve all of these and yourselves as Conference Minister.
May 31 and June 1 Rev Ron will be back with us, but this time in New Orleans at the SCC Annual Meeting. We will once again have an opportunity to consider the state of our own biases and to engage Ron in further discussion.
My fervent hope is that you will be with us for this annual gathering of sisters and brothers of the faith. Our view of following after Jesus is one that lacks universal acceptance and that makes the gathering of ourselves together so very critical. We will sing, preach and pray together. We will hear music native to New Orleans and we will eat. We will also have an opportunity to explore the city. Most of all, we will be together as a family of faith seeking to explore more fully what it means to follow Jesus.
Save the date and get registered (registration will open March 15). Let’s follow Jesus and like Jesus let us work to make of our world what God always intended it to be.
Peace, honor, grace,