Conversations about the realities of race and the impact of racism can be uncomfortable, even in the church. The General Commission on Race and Religion of The United Methodist Church offers Vital Conversations on Realities of Racism: A Guide to Small-Group Discussions about the Video Series as a way to begin dialogue, face our misconceptions and fears, and move deliberately to spiritual, community and social transformation.
The General Commission on Race and Religion offers resources to facilitate, guide, and support discussions on how to move to efficacy, justice, and courageous positive action. The Commission strives to build the capacity of The United Methodist Church to be contextually relevant and to reach more people, younger people, and more diverse people as we make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Our ministry model provides resources for congregations and Church leaders to increase intercultural competency, institutional equity, and vital conversations.
We recommend conducting your study of the Vital Conversations Videos Series in nine sessions:
- Session 1: Introduction
- Sessions 2-8: Individual Videos and Discussion (See below)
- Session 9: Celebration and What’s Next?
The introduction and closing sessions may be shorter or longer in length, depending on the group. The seven core sessions are designed to last about 90 minutes, including the videos. Each video is less than 20 minutes in length. We recommend eight to 10 people in the group for greater intimacy and participation. The flow of the core meetings is as follows:
- Check-in: Feedback on your week and prayer requests
- Prayer: Based in part on check-in
- Video: Viewing of the seven presenters
- Discussion: Questions based on the video
- Next week: Expectations and what is to come
- Closing prayer: Completed in unison
Thank you for joining this Vital Conversation.
The videos and resources are available for advanced viewing or further study below.
Dr. DiAngelo describes the most obvious and explicit aspects of racism and white privilege while going beyond the surface of racism. Her video serves as a foundation on understanding racism and white privilege for the remaining six videos in the Vital Conversations series.
To download a printable version of the Discussion Guide for Session 2, please click here.
The Rev. Dr. Miguel de la Torre’s approach to dismantling racism is religiously analyzing social issues from the perspective of the dispossessed and disenfranchised. Dr. de la Torre focuses on the Church’s role in embracing marginalized communities and cultivating a true spirit of multiculturalism in his video “Church: Building the Beloved Community.” He names racism as a sin.
To download a printable version of the Discussion Guide for Session 3, please click here.
The Rev. Glen Chebon Kernell Jr. builds upon the previous video by Dr. de la Torre, calling the church to participate more vigorously by engaging in ongoing acts of repentance, justice making and truth telling about the historical and continuing impact of racism, specifically on Native Americans and indigenous people.
To download a printable version of the Discussion Guide for Session 4, please click here.
The Rev. David Anderson Hooker outlines elements that hinder and help fruitful dialogue on issues of race in the “Meaningful Conversations on Race” video. In doing so, he traces how myths about race define how we function in life including work and school in the form of institutional racism. According to Dr. Hooker, when we avoid the hard conversations about race, we short-circuit any meaningful dialogue that can result in transformation in our lives and across the United States.
To download a printable version of the Discussion Guide for Session 5, please click here.
In “Continued Struggles in Race Relations,” Dr. Phillip Klinkner confirms that the vestiges of racism for many people of color remain. Nor do the practices of institutions in the United States align with democratic ideals of liberty for all. Dr. Klinkner argues that the advance of equality has been unsteady with brief and isolated periods of improvement and long, steady stretches of stagnation and retreat.
To download a printable version of the Discussion Guide for Session 6, please click here.
Dr. Pamela Lightsey explores intersectionality – the overlapping of social categories including race, class, and gender – in the context of her own life as a clergywoman, a lesbian, and an African-American woman. She uses her own history and experience as a lens for analyzing and understanding the racial strife in Ferguson, Mo., in her video “The Intersections of Oppression.”
To download a printable version of the Discussion Guide for Session 7, please click here.
The Rev. Cynthia Moore-Koikoi shares her experiences in the broader context of racial strife in the video “The Building of Bridges to Community.” She challenges viewers to reach out and build relationships in their respective communities through the lens of her service and experience in racially torn Baltimore. She prophetically calls all of us in the Church to be sources of hope and redemption to communities in conflict. She calls us to witness to God’s love and justice in the midst of civil unrest and protest in embattled places like Baltimore.
To download a printable version of the Discussion Guide for Session 8, please click here.
The guide is produced by GCORR and authored by Rev. Dr. Dianne Glave. Rev. Dr. Glave recently joined the staff of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference as the coordinator of diversity development. Rev. Dr. Glave’s background includes an M.A. and Ph.D. in History with an emphasis on African-American and environmental history. Her publications include Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African-American Environmental Heritage and To Love the Wind and the Rain: African-American Environmental History, a co-edited volume with Mark Stoll.