First Church spent three Sundays in July studying The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone. As a result of that study a group of about a dozen folks met to discuss next steps. Below is the list of possibilities that were named. The group will continue to move toward focusing on certain actions as a group. In the meantime, several people volunteered to take some individual initiative in relation to these topics.
Do you have thoughts about other possible responses? Feel free to add them in the comment section.
- Partner with others doing prison ministry, perhaps an African-American congregation
- Study and share the series of articles about incarceration and education that included two articles by Barbara Grady-Ayers
- Read Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow
- Investigate the Crossroads anti-racism organization / training
- Connect as pen pals with death row inmates
- Show “Traces of the Trade” movie again (about the Northern slave trade)
- Work with Campaign to End the Death Penalty
- Develop a public voice to speak up about diversity issues, especially those related to incarceration of African Americans
- Build personal connections with those more directly affected by violence, poverty, oppression
- Explore Cone’s question of “Where was the white church?” in the lynching era as well as the question of where the white church is now in the face of current oppression
- Develop a sense of community around these issues so we feel less powerless and that we can do something
- Change people’s (and our) willingness to tolerate poverty
- Use our voice as a faith community to put out the message that homelessness is wrong and that the size and the racial disparity of prison population are wrong
- Connect to UCC resources
- Respond to President Obama’s call for ministers/clergy to respond to recent incidents of violence (such as at the Sikh temple) by making sure there is a UCC presence in the conversation.
- Learn about South Berkeley Community Church—its history and relationship to First Church
- Research the diversity of East Bay School for Boys (First Church tenant) and consider providing a scholarship to the school
- Lift up particular books (for library, reading as a church, studying)