Confronting Racism: A Summer Series on Race and Justice
Members of the Christian Formation team invite you to participate in an extended series on the issue of racism.
August 13: Race is Nothing; Race is Everything, West Raleigh joins Davie Street Presbyterian Church in welcoming Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler, Professor of Bible at Union Presbyterian Seminary. West Raleigh will worship with and at Davie Street Presbyterian Church beginning at 9:30 am
View the presentation! (pdf) by Barbara Zelter, NCSU Professor of Social Work on July 16, 2017
Members of the Christian Formation team joined with other West Raleigh members at Cedar Cross Retreat Center to plan this 6-month series on the issue of racism. This special focus is in response to the urging of the denomination, the interest of some of our members who have attended multiple conferences and training seminars, current events in the community, and the signs and tenor of the time. It is a natural extension of the work of our congregation with the refugee community. The planning weekend was the culmination of wide-ranging discussion groups, story and resource-sharing, and multiple planning meetings. Out of Saturday’s gathering, capably led by Ashlie Thompson, we laid out a series that we hope will result in story-sharing, humble and honest conversations driven by self-reflection, and an increased understanding of the history of how racism is baked into our society as well as the current landscape. All this will be grounded in the scriptures and our Reformed theology, enabling participants and this congregation to take steps in “bending the arc towards justice on race.”
The vision for this series is drawn from the Antiracism Policy of the Presbyterian Church (USA) as approved by the 222nd General Assembly (2016), Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community:
As the Church firmly planted in the world, it is called to confront a variety of social, political, economic, and ethical issues at particular times and places. At the dawn of the 21st century in the United States, one of these issues has been, and continues to be, racism. Our biblical and theological understandings of who we are and whose we are, drives us “to stand against, speak against, and work against racism.”
Racism is the opposite of God’s intentions; a form of idolatry placing human values and standards above divine promises and grace. It is the rejection of the other… when all are children of God. Confronting racism is a fundamental facet in discipleship… in our identity as God’s faithful and covenantal servants and in our call to proclaim, and act upon, the Good News. As the PC(USA) has rightly affirmed, “antiracist effort is not optional for Christians.”
It is within the congregation where a ministry of antiracism is most appropriately centered and executed. Drawing upon a myriad of resources and expertise from within the congregation, the denomination, and society at large, West Raleigh Presbyterian Church hopes to become better grounded so it may be a place where…
moral values are taught and nurtured;
worship and nurture come together to transform lives;
actions are propagated that will effect change in the church and society;
and the community of faith is further strengthened, across racial and cultural lines,
as it lives into the vision of the one church of Jesus Christ.