Our program is designed to help congregations grapple not only with large historical, social and religious contexts of racial injustice but also our local histories and congregational practices. This will help us determine ways individual congregations can come to be characterized by racial justice and participate together in larger regional efforts to achieve a just society, one characterized by the biblical understanding of shalom. The congregations of our region who will be our primary constituents reflect larger national realities in composition and local practices. Community will be achieved by a variety of structured events that will help us understand the broad contours of race and racism in American religious history as well as the ways those broad realities have been shaped by and help to shape our local and congregational practices. This knowledge will be the ground out of which will grow congregational reflection on and planning for ways their missions can be refreshed and their practices renewed in order to contribute to the realization of shalom, an imperative for every Christian community in all times and places. Events and projects that will help achieve this result will include participation in seminars and workshops on local and national history related to race and religion, congregational opportunities for research into their own histories and ecclesial practices assisted by Messiah College faculty and students, and experiential learning and community building events such as the Civil Rights Bus Tour.
Thriving Together: Congregations for Racial Justice
Peter Kerry Powers