afraid or dismayed; for the LordGod, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you,
until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.” 1 Chronicles 28:20 (NRSV)
“Love Takes Courage”
Dear Colleagues in Ministry,
Greetings and blessings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
As Disciples, we are at our best when our witness points to restoring wholeness in the body of
Christ. As a movement people – once a westward movement, then a movement from
repentance toward reconciliation, Disciples have always embraced the difficult questions of our
landscape with courage and conviction that the light of God’s witness entrusted to us never
Recent events in the life of our country and church prompt us to recognize a special
opportunity for sincere reflection regarding what it means to ‘be Church’ in this moment. The
repealing of key provisions of the Voting Rights Acts of 1965 and the verdict in the murder trial
ofthe State of Florida versus Zimmerman have provoked a public outcry that highlightsthe
persistent nature of racism in our culture. While society can be polarized around the issue of
race relations and racial justice, we are heartened by our Disciples’ commitment to our pro-reconciliation/anti-racism priority.
True to our Disciples character, we do not hold a singular perspective about the events that led
to the death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his assailant, George Zimmerman – events
that affected a collective gasp of despair among black and brown sisters and brothers.
However, our Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism mission priority affords us an opportunity within
our differing perspectives to lean into this kairosmoment –God’s timing – to wrestle with the
pertinent questions of this hour.
– What is the Church’s response to hurting brothers and sisters for whom these events reopen tender wounds of historic violence and oppression?
– How do we position ourselves to listen to each other’s experiences holding in tension
the very real possibility that our own perceptions could be changed?
Reconciliation Ministry offers the resources to engage these questions and to assist in
convening these critical and courageous conversations. Included in this letter are three
resources/recommendations that invite dialogue in the small groups or circles of your choice.
You will also find them at www.reconciliationministry.org.
As we approach the season for our Special Offering for Reconciliation Ministry, we invite your
wholehearted participation in this emphasis as well as your generous giving to the
Reconciliation Ministry Special Offering on September 29th and on World Communion Sunday,
October 6th. This year’s theme could not be more in keeping with the spirit of this hour-“Love
Takes Courage.” Therefore, we also invite your participation to enter into ‘courageous
conversation’ and to seriously consider this moment as an opportunity to work for
reconciliation in your community and increased understanding in your congregation around
issues of race relations and racial justice.
Finally, we invite you to reflect on King David’s words to his son Solomon in the daunting
responsibility of building the temple of the Lord to house the Ark of the Covenant. David’s
comforting words reminds us of God’s faithfulness toward us and God’s promise of continual
presence with us as we seek to accomplish the work of building God’s realm on earth, restoring
wholeness and dignity to every member of our church and communities. “Be strong and
courageous and act,” as we hold God’s covenant of love for each other remembering Christ’s
courageouslove for us.
God’s peace be with you now and always,
Relate/Encounter Guidelines for a small group:
• Appoint a convener for your small group and a time keeper.
• Ask someone to serve as an intercessor to pray for your group and its conversation.
• Secure a worship ‘center’ or focal piece such as a candle to serve as remainder of the
sacred presence of God in your meeting space. If you are on a conference call or video
call request participants to secure a worship center in their place of participation.
• The convener should solicit input to establish a small group covenant of respect, safety
and confidentiality. Convener should ask participants to use “I” statements when they
share and descriptors such as “I feel/felt _____ when . . .”
• Close your time together with intentional silence and prayer.
• When did you first become aware of race and racial difference in your home or
• What was the name of your first friend that was racially or ethnically different than you?
• Describe your first understanding of racial disparity or injustice in your lifetime, for
example did you become aware of people of a different racial or ethnic group being
treated differently than people of your own racial or ethnic group? How did you
• How was race discussed in your home, school or church?
• Are you accustomed to seeing people of your race represented on television, media,
history books, etc? How do you feel or respond when you do not see yourself
I. Begin a book club and or study in your Region or congregation to review and discuss
during Sunday School or a regularly scheduledmeeting day to raise awareness of
race relations, racial justice or race history. Check www.reconciliationministry.org and click on the “Resources” button on the left for recommendations or call the
II. Next Steps Ideas
• Seek a partner congregation with a majority racial/ethnic membership different than
your own for a regular pulpit exchange and fellowship.
• Partner with another congregation, ministry group, or Region to plan an introductory
Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism training event.
• Partner with another congregation, ministry group, or community group to address a
racial justice concern in your community. (ie. Transportation equity, school board
• Plan your own youth training event using this lesson plan from Reconciliation Ministry