Call to Confession: Week 3

Call to Confession: Race, White Privilege, and the Church

Photo Credit: David Wigger

Photo Credit: David Wigger

Week 3

Larissa CarouselThe Time Was YesterdayRev. Larissa Kwong Abazia

White privilege means waking up in the morning with the ability to decide whether or not racism will be a part of your day. Just ask people of color who teach their black sons how to interact with police so that they can stay alive. Or who listen to well-meaning compliments on our ability to speak English while repeating over and over that we are “from here.” Ask people of color who live in fear that the wrong gesture or glance will result in an accusation of terrorism, or those who watch as our cultures are narrowed down to a November holiday that probably didn’t happen like the picture on the Hallmark card. Ask those families who have been accused of “hopping over the border” to work illegally in this country. Continue Reading

Janet Guyer CarouselVisiting Elmina Slave Castle with African Global PartnersRev. Janet Guyer

In September 2015, about 70 Presbyterian and Reformed African women church leaders came together in Accra, Ghana, for the third Tumekutana Conference. Our theme was “Freedom in Christ: From Slavery to Empowerment” based on Luke 13:12 “Woman, you are set free…” As part of the conference we took a field trip to the Elmina Slave Castle. We walked through the crowded village with a sense of anticipation, not know exactly where we were going or what we would find. Then, there it was in front of us, a large, imposing building. We crossed a bridge over what appeared to be a moat and walked through a dark, cool tunnel-like entryway before we emerged into the bright sunlight of the main courtyard of the castle. Continue Reading

Jessie F-B CarouselFrom the Slave Dungeons of Cape Coast,” Jessie Fubara-Manuel

What madness
Extreme inhumanity
Not accidental
Not mere mistake
Planned and executed
In utter wickedness. Continue Reading

Charles Carousel 2The Privilege of Only Singing ‘Our’ SongRev. Charles Freeman

It is most unlikely that Reginald Heber, vicar of the village church of Hodnet, meant to be hostile to or dismissive of the peoples of the world when he penned a hymn urging the church to its missionary task. Heber spoke and wrote often of the need for missionary work and later backed up his words with three years service as Bishop of Calcutta. His frequent travels and tireless work for those in his charge there were ruinous to his health, however, and Heber died in India in 1826. He was also a hymnodist of note, with “Holy, Holy, Holy” his most famous text today. Nonetheless, his most famous mission hymn left a mixed and uncertain legacy at best. Continue Reading

Melanie Harris CarouselStrands of One Thread: Ecowomanism, Rev. Dr. Melanie L. Harris

The struggle for gender, racial, and economic justice are all parts of the same thread, and deal with similar questions of power and privilege. Rev. Dr. Melanie L. Harris, Associate Professor of Religion and Ethics at Texas Christian University, explores the voices and perspectives of women from African descent in the below conversation with Rev. Rebecca Barnes, PC(USA) Associate for Environmental Ministries. Continue Reading

Nora Leccese CarouselLate We Come? The Need for Unapologetic Affirmation that Black Lives Matter to the White Church, Nora Leccese

Late we come. At once an admonition, a confession, and a promise. From my office, I can almost see the National Mall where Dr. Eugene Carson Blake delivered this speech nearly a half century ago. His words are as salient today as they were then. As a white American I do feel shame when I think, “We came late and have one foot out the door to leave early. Did we just stay for the snacks?” Continue Reading

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