~ Alex Bacon, Racial Justice Task Force
Since our congregational vote in August, we are continuing to get concrete in our commitment to be a Racial Justice Church. This has required the work of many congregants and staff . Our Racial Justice Task Force held numerous outreach sessions, conducted a written survey, and listened to and reflected on the voices raised at the congregational vote. Out of that, we now have a mission calling us to “Meet the moral and spiritual imperative of addressing racism in our congregation and broader community through sacred study, conversation, community building, and worship so that we can act as effective allies to dismantle it.”
Our goals for the coming year include:
- To make UCUCC a place where people of color feel welcome and included.
- Provide educational opportunities to the congregation that will:
- Explore theologies that offer alternatives to white supremacy and racial hierarchy.
- Deepen our awareness of racial injustice and harm in everyday life, and guide us to make racially just decisions.
- Become an antiracist church through worship, policies, practices and structure.
- Provide an environment for children, youth, and their families, to actively engage in antiracism work.
- Partner with groups both inside UCUCC and in the community to promote actions and events that dismantle racism.
- Provide ongoing communications that keep the issue of racism continually in front of the congregation.
Oct 26, Racial Justice Retreat
Two-dozen congregants, staff and community members joined together on October 26 for a half-day retreat. At this retreat, we prioritized working on action items to help us work towards the goals above based on those that had the most energy. In addition to a communications group, five work groups were formed based on common action steps, including:
Racial Justice Book Group
Meets on 3rd Tuesdays at noon after Bible Study.
- The group will be discussing Becoming by Michelle Obama on Dec 17.
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor on Jan 21.
Partner with Sacred Earth Matters (SEM)
Develop a UCUCC land acknowledgement statement to show respect for and honor the Indigenous People of Seattle and the Puget Sound.
- This will be discussed further at the SEM meeting on January 12 and is open to all.
Developed initial plans to potentially use the season of Epiphany to focus on racial justice issues in our worship, add a monthly segment to our worship bulletin and/or service that lifts up racial justice and developing a statement regarding cultural appropriation in worship.
Connect with Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Took the first steps towards sharing an activity together before year’s end that will further nurture this budding connection.
Partnership with local faith communities
Learn how they and our Conference are responding to God’s Call to end White Supremacy. Research and recommend a people-of-color-led organization in Seattle that works on racial justice issues, and would appreciate our support.
Our continued initial steps are modest when laid bare against the violence of white supremacy and racism. These systems of oppression have been hard-baked into our faith for over five-hundred years, and despite our work so far, the violence and harm continue even in our own Church walls. As a white person, I know I must seek support from others to avoid the pitfalls of getting stuck in fear, guilt and shame. Instead we must imagine a truly liberated world free of oppression and take concrete steps towards that world.
The more of us involved in these efforts, the more impactful we can be. Please contact Ginger Warfield at moc.cam@dleifrawv to get connected to this work or if you have questions.
The Racial Justice Task Force is planning a follow-up meeting after the New Year.
You can also join the UCUCC Racial Justice Facebook group to stay current.