SESSION A: FRIDAY, 11:15AM – 12:45PM
Decentering Whiteness in Evangelicalism Through Rich, Authentic Relationships
Over the past fifteen years, a triad of women, two Evangelical Christian women of color, and one non-Christian, white woman, have forged a deep and lasting relationship. First professional colleagues and now close friends, we have rich, authentic discussions around faith, spirituality, supremacy, racial identity, and social justice. What has grown from nurturing and protecting our relationship – even in times of serious disagreement are real questions and real discussions about the right topics that are pressing both the Church and society today. In this session, presenters will explore how within a caring, interracial relationship they have built an authentic friendship that supports them in unpacking the difficulties of talking about racial identity, disrupts dominant communication patterns, and fosters value for each other’s lived experiences.
Presenters: Crystal Elliott-O’Connor, FaKelia Guyton and Kim Kelly
Creating Subversive Liturgies
This workshop will explore the need for creating liturgies that create space for people of color and black people to name their social realities in the presence of God, and to engage hope for social transformation as an essential part of Christian hope. It will also include a time for collaboration and ideation to create a subversive liturgy.
Presenters: Andre Henry and Darren Calhoun
Building an Asian American theology of liberation
Asian American liberation theology. Is there such a thing? What could it be good for? What is its revolutionary potential? This workshop invites discussion, criticism, and collaboration from all people of color on rebuilding a theology of liberation, focusing on Asian North American communities and the obstacles to solidarity within these communities and with other communities of colour. Possible topics include but are not limited to: inherited trauma of migration and war; the model minority myth and honorary white privilege; Asian anti-blackness and colorism; complicity in oppressive structures such as racial capitalism, settler colonialism, and gender-based violence. How have we experienced these events in our own lives or the lives of others? How can solidarity be built despite such deep failings? What reckonings must take place in order to build power across color lines? To motivate the discussion, a brief presentation will be given on the forgotten history of Asian American liberation theology in the 1970s, and a proposal for rebuilding one for the 2020s that has the theological firepower to drive struggles for justice and to decenter whiteness in Asian American Christianity.
Presenter: Tian An Wong
Moving from systemic injustice to collective response: beyond the individual
Before we can begin to do the work of faith-based dismantling of racism, economic inequality, and other injustices embedded in American culture, Christian faith communities first need to realize that these inequities run deep. American Christianity has long had an emphasis on individualism that extends to the way many Christians — and thus, churches — address meeting the needs of those in their community. Many churches and Christian organizations do wonderful work focused on meeting the needs of those caught in cycles of oppression, but they are unmoved or unconvinced by the origins of these cycles within our cultural systems, going back generations.
Presenters: Meagan S. Davis; Rev. Alexis James Waggoner
Arab and Black Womanhood
Part A: Arab Women Dismantle Power & Patriarchal Jesus Style – While women represent less than 10% of all peace mediators and signatures, adding women to peacemaking tables enhances the quality and stability of peace. Because women work effectively across party lines especially in addressing the needs of women and children, this session will consider the legacy of women, and especially Arab women, as God’s agents of justice and reconciliation.
Part B: Decentering Whiteness by Centering Black Womanhood – How can we decenter whiteness by focusing on black womanhood in 3 areas: advocacy for and around our specific issues, self-preservation & health and healing from our historical & modern day trauma.
Presenters: Mimi Haddad Grace Ward
“Let’s Talk ______ : A Model for Facilitating Difficult Conversations in Diverse Communities”
Small-city Texas would never make the short list of places for conversations about race, gender identity, immigration, hate speech or many of the hot-button issues of the day. Yet, it’s in small-city Texas where “Let’s Talk Race” opened the floodgates across lines of difference. White folks and people of color who attended high school together during integration spoke with each other for the first time about what it felt like at the time; more than 40 years after the fact. Since that inaugural series in 2015, Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community Church and Rev. Mel E. Martinez, M.Div. (“Pastor Mel”) have hosted “Let’s Talk Guns” and this year, “Let’s Talk Immigration.” Learn the strategies that work to gather people of different opinions for a conversation that is raw and brave and bridge-building.
Presenter: Rev. Mel Martinez
Becoming Good Neighbors: A Case Study with Refugees
The UNHCR has said the number of forcibly displaced people, refugees, and asylees caught in the global migration crisis is 68.5 million and climbing. In the midst of political turmoil, climate change, and rapid gentrification, brothers and sisters are being forced to flee their homes in search of safety, opportunity, and a new life. In the American church, only 23% of White evangelicals personally know a Muslim and people of non-Christian traditions who don’t personally know a Christian is 75%. This workshop will examine one way that World Relief Seattle has begun to address this chasm, through Good Neighbor Teams. Come join us to hear about the messy, transformative, and exciting work of connecting refugees, asylees, and vulnerable immigrants with parishioners in pursuit of mutually transformative relationships.
Presenter: Albert Wang
Addressing Anti-Blackness in Communities of Color
Anti-Blackness is endemic in our society including non-Black communities of color. This special Voices Project-sponsored workshop will be an opportunity to both discuss the histories of anti-Blackness within non-Black communities of color as well as to strategies on ways for non-Black people of color to organize against anti-Blackness.
Presenters: Voices Project and Leroy Barber
Stop Being White (An Accountability Space for White People)
This is a workshop for people who have been socialized to identify as white, to help them think theologically about their identity. The title of this workshop is drawn from the work of Angela Davis, who famously said the thing that white people can do to help is to ‘Stop being White.’ During our time together we will work on defining whiteness, understanding social construction and power dynamics, and making space for corporate lament. Ultimately, we are aiming to move from ‘White Guilt’ and fragility toward sobriety and activism.
Presenters: Frank Bergh, Ben Swihart and Megan Westra
Understand Dwight D. Eisenhower, Billy Graham, & Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Views on Militarism
In his 1961 presidential exit speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower initially introduced the phrase military-industrial complex to the general public and warned of its dangers. Eisenhower’s military credentials, as well as his experience as the President of Columbia University, provided him with a unique perspective on the course the United States was embarking on. In the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, pastor Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed how the American political decision-making process had been influenced by institutional racism and he critiqued the country’s involvement in the Vietnam War which conflated the concept of patriotism with military spending and the notion of spreading freedom abroad. Oilman Sid Richardson, one of the wealthiest men in the country, was responsible for connecting Billy Graham with Eisenhower. During the Eisenhower administration, evangelist Graham was enlisted in the rhetorical war against godless communism. Together they promoted civil religion by adding the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance and making “In God We Trust” the nation’s first official motto. These ministers and the former President’s views will be explored theologically as a means of understanding who their Mentoring Lineage descendants are and what they are accomplishing: Donald Trump, Franklin Graham, and William Barber II. The format will be an interactive presentation, followed by a discussion on the historical relevance of the political roots of Evangelicalism, as well as the misappropriation of the legacies of mentor figures of the past and their words.
Presenter: Dr. Gabe Veas
SESSION B: FRIDAY, 2:15PM – 3:45PM
White Followership: Yielding Power, Facing Privilege, and Building Capacity for Dismantling Racism
Jesus’ first command for his disciples was, “Come, follow me,” yet in white evangelicalism, the majority has done more leading and dominating than listening and following. If whiteness is the unearned, normative entitlement to power and privilege and key characteristics of discipleship are to be humble and follow, then white evangelicals interested in dismantling racism need to learn what it means to follow leaders of color. White Followership is designed for white Christians seeking to work toward racial justice by practically following leaders of color as well as understanding the subtle nuances of how we continually center our power, even in our most concerted efforts to follow leaders of color. This workshop will explore:
-A discipleship model for White Followership
-Practical tools for yielding power and building capacity to decenter whiteness
-White communal practices to manage fragility and reduce the temptation to seek assurance from people of color or disengage from community altogether
Presenter: Rose Lee-Norman
Collective & Community Street Theatre- an Art of Storytelling
Collective street theatre is a creative & experimental type of active movement through the arts. From this active movement, a collective group displays their stories, images & performance to an audience. The work & themes created collectively in a group has an impact on others in sociopolitical themes. As people of faith and activists, we have an opportunity to share our stories through street theatre that can attract a crowd with 3 ideals- visibility, simplicity & promotion.
Presenter: Murray Pruden
Israel, Palestine and Seeking Justice
Evangelical Christianity is intimately linked with the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict from its intersection with Christian Zionism in Western Europe and the United States to its roots within the Palestinian community. It has provided the theological justification for colonial enterprises in Israel/Palestine, and it offers Palestinian Christians a means of non-violent resistance to the occupation. This workshop will explore the ways in which the cultural legacy of European imperialism can distort our understandings of biblical prophecies relating to Israel and will offer suggestions for reading those same prophecies through a social-justice lens. Participants in this workshop will grapple with the challenges of constructing a theology on Israel/Palestine that is anti-colonial but not anti-Semitic. They will learn how to elevate the voices of indigenous peacemakers in Israel/Palestine, as well as how to advocate for justice for Israel/Palestine within their own communities.
Presenters: Rev. Dr. Mae Cannon and Aziz Abu Sarah
To whom much is given, much is required. Brokering conversations about masculinity, race and community is challenging. How do we that identify as men stay open, responsible, collaborative and empowered? “God so loved the world…that he gave.”
Presenter: Mathew Mitchell
The Role of Power in Decentering Whiteness: A Workshop on Power Analysis
The centering of whiteness in US institutions—including evangelicalism—is, in part, the result of power amassed, held, and wielded by white folks. As a result, one tool for de-centering whiteness is the redistribution of power. This workshop will introduce participants to the power analysis tool and give us the opportunity to practice it in our collective or campaign-specific contexts. I will work through a power analysis of “evangelicalism” (key people, institutions, and how to shift power) with the participants, to demonstrate its use. After about 10-15 minutes of group work, I will give participants the option to either continue working collectively or to split off and allow participants to develop a power analysis for specific campaigns in their home context.
Presenter: Vanessa Carter
Beyond Welcoming the Stranger: Decentering Whiteness in Immigration Ministry & Activism
Even among those who promote hospitality and compassionate approaches to the immigration conversation, the focus is often on white people–what they can do and how they can welcome immigrants. In this interactive workshop, immigrant advocates, Sandy Ovalle and Karen Gonzalez, discuss the pastoral, political, and theological implications of decentering whiteness in the immigration conversation and embracing mutuality, empowerment, connectedness, and belonging.
Presenters: Karen Gonzalez, Sandy Ovalle
Is Queerness a White Invention? Examining non-white queer histories
“LGBTQ rights are Western values” is a trope repeated often by political and religious leaders in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and even here in the United States. But the historical record suggests otherwise: Queerness was generally accepted across many cultures, and it was colonialism, modernity, and world religions — particularly Christianity — that undermined this tolerance. What implications does this have specifically for queer, Christian immigrants in this country?
Presenter: Sarah Ngu
“Why we are leaving your churches” (first take)
This workshop will be a space for people of color stories and perspectives of church staff who have left white evangelical churches. There will be space for lament, learnings, and potential next steps.
Presenters: Jeremy Chia, Angie Hong
Developing Minority Leaders on the Concrete
Decentering whiteness in evangelicalism means people of color occupying positions of influence in the faith community of our nation and neighborhoods. This workshop will cover the training necessary to represent the minority community theologically, socially, and professionally. It will also cover the complexity of urban-minority leadership development from the perspective of a practitioner and provide a contextual framework for participants.
Presenters: David Rosa, Ruth Rosa
Blessed are the peacemakers: Working with our Students of Color
Promoting education for the underserved communities is God’s work. Children need advocates and we need to stand up as followers and defend the vulnerable. My objective is to speak about some of the injustices in education for our Students of Color and provide opportunities of Hope, as Christians. I propose to provide evidence-based information and also bring in the power of God’s Word to affirm the hard work. This is revolutionary work.
Presenter: Patricia Saucedo
Addressing the multiple logics of white supremacy as the impact communities of color differently
While all people of color are impacted by racism and white supremacy, they are not all impacted in the same way. This special Voices Project sponsored workshop will focus on the ways communities of color are differently impacted by racism and white supremacy. It will then discuss ways communities of color can develop strategic alliances with each other across these differences.
Presenters: The Voices Project, Leroy Barber
SESSION c: SATURDAY, 11:00AM – 12:30PM
Colonialism, Globalization and Liberating Theologies
Part A: The Contribution of Christian Heresy to Our Racial and Political Challenges Today – Before colonialism, Christians believed and acted very differently with respect to slavery, land, identity, economics, finance, power, and culture. This means issues of race and justice in the U.S. are not simply issues about “the proper role of government” or even “whiteness” per se; they are also Christian heresies. We want to help people appreciate Christian faith before colonialism, before “whiteness.” We have a blog series with a study guide that facilitates reflection and discussion, in specific policy areas: housing, schooling, policing, corporate capitalism, etc. We’ll introduce the tool and how to use it in your community.
Part B: Refugee youth translanguaging is an asset, not a deficit, and reflects
our dual identities as heavenly citizens and earthly dwellers, within the
both/and framework of eschatology. Being proximate with refugee youth and
educating and empowering them, allows us to reflect the advocacy heart of
Part C: One of the salient features of globalization is the growth of capitalism beyond
traditionally Western nations. I assert that evangelicalism provides a
religious framework that is not only amenable but beneficial, to the
advancement of capitalism. Despite evangelicalism being a truly global movement
today, it’s important to confront its complicity with capitalism if we hope to work
Presenters: Mako Nagasawa, Sunny Sue Chang Jonas, Julian Forth
“Black People Could Learn A Lot from The Reformed Church” and Other White-Centered Seminary Experiences
During our time attending a mid-western seminary we experienced several almost unbelievable moments when we would both think, “This CANNOT REALLY be happening!” Coming into the theological culture quite ignorant of the westernized, evangelical lens from which all “correct” knowledge is pulled, it took us the first few years to recognize the source of our pain and feelings of inadequacy, and the remainder of our time to find safe spaces, alliances among peers and seminary leadership, and a solid place for ourselves on the landscape. During this time we both had an incredible experience of crises with our identities as called women, and finding genuine affirmation. In this session facilitators will share our personal journeys in seminary, some concrete experiences that demonstrate a culture of white-centered supremacy on seminary campuses, and how these experiences have supported us in responding to the call to social awareness and justice for women of color on the seminary landscape.
Presenters: Crystal Elliott-O’Connor, FaKelia Guyton
Deconverting from Whiteness, Centerlessness as Salvation
What is whiteness, really? And how have our identities been built on this faulty foundation? This workshop will explore the ways whiteness creates blackness, the west creates the east, and how those in power shape imagination such that we can’t even think about ourselves without the logic of the oppressor. We will explore how a Cantonese word, jooksing, meaning “empty bamboo,” allows us to lose our faith in the logic of whiteness and to find salvation in the vacated space where whiteness once was.
Presenter: Nate Lee
Power and Privilege in Decentering Whiteness
Part A: Power, Privilege, and Patriarchy – Power, privilege, and patriarchy are the triple threats that impact every human life one way or another. They lie at the root of white privilege and of the domination by one human being, social system, racial group, or government over another in any culture or historical context. They are destructive forces both for the beneficiaries and for those who are oppressed. This presentation will explore how the Bible and the Kingdom of God confronts them and leads through Jesus to redefine radically what it means to be truly human.
Part B: Social Justice and Kids – Lisa Van Engen will present on her book, And Social Justice for All: Empowering Families, Churches, and Schools to Make a Difference in God’s World with Kregel Publishing. Decentering whiteness in evangelism can happen in our youth groups, children’s ministry, schools, and households. Practical ideas and applications to opening a wider world to the young people in our life. When we rise to meet injustice, our children will rise too. Interacting with young people opens up a unique space to learn and grow together in decentering whiteness. Children have a way of disarming skeptics and long-held beliefs. Their honesty, creativity, and openness invites adults to listen. This presentation will provide many practical application ideas to take away for ministry leaders, educators, and parents to decentering whiteness with the young people in their lives.
Part 3: Why We Need a White Theology – Ben Garrett will articulate the need for and discuss the possible projects that could stem from an explicitly white theology. While it may seem contradictory to propose a white theology in the context of decentering whiteness, paradoxically the very act of attaching the adjective “white” to theology decenters the implicit whiteness of much of evangelical theology. To identify a theology as white is to say that other theological vantage points exist. Furthermore, if white theologians were to acknowledge their own starting point as white, they by necessity would need to seek out external perspectives on their whiteness in the same way that a person needs to seek external sources of vision to see themselves (a mirror, a friend etc.). This moves other theological starting points into at least an equal if not primary position for doing white theology. This presentation contends that a white theology is a pastoral project which seeks to explore the meaning of whiteness from the vantage point of Others, what this economic/political/social construct means for the discipleship of white people, and what this discipleship means for a holistic conception of reconciliation.
Part 4: What is Whiteness? – How White Culture is Shaping You and Your Evangelical Space: White culture has a profound impact on not only us as individuals, but on the culture of Evangelical spaces. Because Whiteness is seen as normative, we often can’t name and spot it before we see its detrimental effects. Elizabeth will be helping us spot some key aspects of White culture so we can see how they impact the spaces we occupy and can mitigate the damage they cause.
Part 5: “Decentering Whiteness in the Classroom” – Academic education in religion, theology, and philosophy in America has historically been framed within the context of European Christianity, largely taught by white men, and undertaken while assuming a “canon” almost entirely comprised of white, male, European Christians. Hence, by the time one becomes an educator in these disciplines, more than likely, one has already been indoctrinated by two to three decades of a white supremacist education. So what does it look like to acknowledge, unlearn, and decenter one’s white supremacist education and the ensuing power and privilege that comes with being white in the classroom? This session will create space for participants to honestly assess some of the ways in which whiteness functions as the unstated norm within academic and religious classroom settings. It will then explore how educators can interrogate their own whiteness, interrogate the historical privileging of whiteness in academia, and be accomplices in decentering whiteness within the classroom.
Presenters: Carolyn Custis James, Lisa Van Engen, Ben Garrett, Elizabeth Behrens, Brock Bahler
Too often we jump to discuss the symptoms that White Evangelicalism has had on culture and our churches without first looking at the deep-rooted paradigms that produce the symptoms. This workshop will be led as a facilitated discussion looking at the following question: What deep-rooted paradigms need to shift/be thrown out in our current contexts (denominations, organizations, institutions, etc.) in order for whiteness to be disassembled/dismantled from Christianity? We will discuss, what are the creative action steps needed for dismantling and replacing them with a POC-centered Christianity.
Presenter: Evelmyn Ivens
Comunidades de Base and Hush Harbors – Base Christian Community for the 21st Century
Decolonizing movements focus on getting rid of oppressive Christian formation. The second question is how to rebuild a living Christian faith rooted in liberation perspectives. Fortunately, we have roots in communities of color that we can draw on as we rebuild. This workshop will introduce participants to those roots in the Latin American and Philippine liberation movements as well as in the Hush Harbors developed by African Americans in slavery. We will then explore contemporary practices that are inspired by and build on these roots. The workshop will be experiential and conceptual.
Presenter: Alexia Salvatierria
Disavowed: Decentering Whiteness In Artistic Embodiment
In this workshop, participants will explore the dichotomy between sacred and profane in artistic practices, specifically how it works in the aesthetic tastes and ethical conversations about what kinds of art we create and are formed by. The presentation will include a historical overview of the whitewashing of the field of theology and the arts, examples of a new reality in which the theological arts have decentered whiteness, and tools to equip participants to implement new prophetic ways of engaging in the arts in specific contexts.
Presenters: Angie Hong, Lisa Beyeler-Yvarra
Cultural Liminality: The Struggles, Beauty, and Power of the Middle
For many who identify as being culturally liminal, or in-between multiple cultures, whether it be because you are an immigrant, 1st generation+, or biracial, there is a tension that we often experience. We never fully identify with either side, and often can feel lost in a world with too simple categories. In the midst of this, the dominant White Evangelical Christianity has crafted a form of the Gospel that often misses the amazing gifts and uniqueness that is revealed through our experience. In this workshop I hope to explore some of the challenges of being an “in-betweener”, deconstruct the white-centered understanding of our identities, and then together as a group, we will reconstruct a more refined and complete narrative of our identity that gives a more full picture of the Good News of Jesus, who was in-betweener himself.
Presenter: Rafik Wahbi
Addressing Classism and Elitism in Communities of Color: Centering the Voices from the Margins
Classism and elitism is alive and well in communities of color, not just white communities. It is often people of color with degrees and status who are called on by white evangelicals to represent their communities. In this workshop, we will discuss strategies to ensure that those at the margins within communities of color are represented in our ministries and organizing efforts.
Presenter: Sandra Van Opstal
Exodus: A Model for the White Patriarchy
This presentation equips you as we walk through portions of the book of Exodus highlighting the frighteningly similar ways in which the Egyptians treated the Hebrew slaves and benefited unjustly from their labor and compare that to how the white patriarchy treated African slaves and benefited unjustly from their labor. I’ll trace how the founders of America looked to Exodus as a model for how to obtain free labor, build wealth and grow a nation all on the backs of an oppressed people group.
Presenter: Glen Phan
SESSION A: SATURDAY, 2:00PM – 3:30PM
Tracks to Freedom: How I Used Keyboard Sequencing to Break Free from the Evangelical Worship Machine
This is a guided journey — one part testimony, how part technical how-to, and one part musical/cultural analysis. Armed with his keyboard and laptop, some fun stories, and an extensive repertoire of cross-cultural arrangements, Jelani Greenidge will tell his story of how he was able to use Yamaha keyboards to incorporate his love of hip-hop, gospel and other musical forms into white evangelical worship spaces, breaking up the hegemony of the typical evangelical worship music and language. Participants will learn how they can use similar technology to achieve a similar outcome.
Presenter: Jelani Greenidge
Discovering Abuelita Theology
What if the greatest theologians we’ve ever known are those whom the world wouldn’t consider theologians at all? This presentation will explore Abuelita Theology, a theology of survival, strength, resistance and persistence. Abuelita Theology centers the experiences of abuelitas, or grandmothers in our midst who have often served as overlooked beacons of our faith. We will discuss and identify unnamed and overlooked abuelita theologians in Scripture as well as those in our own life and ministry.
Presenter: Kat Armas
Decentering Whiteness by Centering Black Church History
Part A: Help White Evangelicalism – The Black church was created as a rebuke and response to racism. It embraced the true Gospel while much of American Christianity clung to the false Gospel of white supremacy. This presentation will convey the history and legacy of the Black church as a corrective to the heresy of white supremacy.
Part 2: A Revival We Did Not Recognise: The rise of black majority churches in London and their challenge to contemporary evangelicalism – Walter Hollenweger famously wrote, in 1992, ‘Christians in Britain prayed for many years for revival, and when it came they did not recognise it, because it was black.’ This presentation explores this ‘unrecognised revival’ in Britain (focusing specifically on the city of London). The rise, role, and impact, of black majority churches in London will be surveyed and brought to bear on the present state of evangelicalism (in both its UK and US variants). The presenter will draw out challenges and lessons from the black majority churches
in London to contemporary evangelicalism in order to answer the question; how can listening to Black British voices and theologies make us more faithful witnesses in our time?
Part 3: Toward a More Adequate Catholic Engagement of Racial Justice – The Catholic Churches understanding of racism poses a significant challenge to Catholic no less Christian ethical reflection and practice. Catholic racial reflection principally views racism as the external expression of individual bias or personal prejudice. This presentation will focus on how the Catholic church can move beyond its cultural captivity to white privilege? To do so the presentation will consider the current state of reflection on racial reconciliation and consider some fundamental themes in Catholic social reflection that could be resources for more effective thinking and practice.
Presenters: Isaiah Robertson, Israel Kolade, Paul Green
Disruption, Redemption, and Imagination: How Queer Asian American Millenials Redefine Identity, Christianity, and Queerness
This workshop centers the profound and often untold stories of queer Asian American millenials in Protestant evangelicalism. By highlighting themes of disruption, redemption, and imagination that arise from their narratives, I argue that queer Asian American millenials are subversively disrupting, redeeming, and reimagining mainstream evangelicalism in ways that undermine and refuse its strongholds of white heteropatriarchy. Although the content highlights queer Asian American Christianity, its implications are applicable to other communities and broader social movements. All are welcome, so come prepared to engage, dialogue, and learn from each other!
Presenter: Bianca Mabute-Louie
Between Two Worlds: Biblical Biculturalism
Cultural Identity Development is crucial in the life of any practicing follower of Jesus, and over the years different psychological research has been done on developing various forms of cultural identity development models. In this workshop, Dylan Reyes will be walking through the various identity development models (Majority, Minority, and Bicultural) while reinforcing command to use our cultural identities to build bridges between various cultural groups, based on Paul’s biblical mandate in Ephesians 2:11-22. Drawing on both his own bicultural experiences, and those of many of his students, Dylan Reyes will be presenting ultimately on the importance of identity development and the cruciality of this development process in the lives of young followers of Jesus
Presenter: Dylan Reyes
The Gospel According to ___________.
Rayne Bozeman, Sanjana Kantayya, and Miranda Lonzo will discuss the essential role of storytelling in centering marginalized voices. In doing so, we will each discuss how our individual relationships with the church have been shaped by the implicit belief in White superiority and neocolonial church practices. This approach to decentering Whiteness stems from the oral traditions in which storytelling serves as an act of resistance.
Presenters: Rayne Bozeman, Sanjana Kantayya, Miranda Lonzo
Identity Formation as Resistance
According to James Cone, having an awareness about our experiences empowers us to set limits on how we allow others to behave towards us. The goal of this workshop is to examine the impact of colonization on the identity of people of color, and to explore what it means to reclaim our identity through identity formation. In order to resist controlling narratives constructed by whiteness, identity formation for people of color requires: 1) a capacity to consistently resist controlling narratives constructed by whiteness, and 2) the ability to embrace self-definitions that affirm our humanity, value, and dignity.
Presenter: Tracey Stringer
Martin Luther King, Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the Fight for Freedom
After establishing a solid biblical foundation for prophetic Christology, we will turn to a discussion of King’s “freedom church of the poor” in the Civil Rights Movement, comparing it to the “confessing church movement” in Bonhoeffer’s Germany. We will then break up into small groups to discuss: “How is our church a “freedom church of the poor” or not? After discussing ways to liberate our churches by intentionally decentering their whiteness through partnering with the poor in movements like the new “Poor People’s Campaign,” we will conclude with a discussion of non-violent faith-rooted organizing. Beginning with a brief discussing how Gandhi’s philosophy and practice of non-violence shaped Bonhoeffer and King, we will conclude with a role-play exercise on nonviolent civil disobedience that everyone in the workshop can participate in. In Stride Toward Freedom (1958), King wrote: “The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.”
Presenters: Reggie L Williams, Peter Goodwin Heltzel
Anti-Racist Church Leadership
More and more, congregations that are committed to inclusivity realize that it’s not enough to say “we are welcoming” or even “hate has no home here.” While many congregations claim – and earnestly desire – a commitment to racial justice and anti-racist values, embodying such commitments demand both a critical analysis and deep commitment to compassionate shepherding by leadership. Drawing from the work of Cross Roads Anti-Racism, this workshop will examine the White Institutional Values that faith community leaders have typically been formed to lead out of, and explore ways for exchanging these for Transforming Value. This workshop will bring together both critical anti-racist analysis and practical congregational realities to equip leaders for rigorous, thoughtful, and gospel-fueled approaches to building beloved community.
Presenter: Rev. Emily McGinley
Never have the words “church is one of the least safe places” been so true as these past few years. From megachurches to non-denominational churches, Independent Fundamental Baptists to Southern Baptists, progressive to conservative, our religious communities are full of tragedies we can no longer ignore. Listening to so many survivors tell their stories of the horrible ways they were treated by the Church leaves no doubt that faith communities have created a toxic culture where abusers thrive and victims are shunned and silenced. Churches have become one of most unsafe places on the planet to be a survivor of abuse.
Presenter: Gricel Medina
Liberating Social Justice Advocacy from Whiteness
This workshop will help participants grapple with 1)the differences between advocacy and service, 2) the myths around faith and advocacy and 3) how to decenter whiteness in working with community members. The format will focus on small group interaction, group-wide activities and continual feedback with me as the presenter.
Presenter: Zakiya Jackson