Reconciliation Grants Process Opens with new Priority
Acknowledging that racism is a sin and is deeply embedded in the systems and powers of our institutions, the PR/AR Committee of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Illinois and Wisconsin is committed to responding to God’s call to be a fully transformed, anti-racist multi-cultural church. In prior years Reconciliation Offering funds have been dispersed to many well-deserving programs and churches in the CCIW Region to meet basic human needs. Through funding afterschool programs for at-risk teens and providing snack packs for children to have food on the weekends, the Region has directly addressed some of the negative effects caused by the racism that permeates our society.
The Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism Committee (and Team) believe it is now time for the CCIW region to prepare and equip the Church to become agents of healing and wholeness in communities across our region in relation to the realities and prevalence of racism. The CCIW is leading the call with ecumenical groups and communities across our region that now is the time for the Church to promote authentic reconciliation within our communities by furthering meaningful conversations about and directly combatting the systemic nature of racism.
In order to prepare and equip the Church in all its manifestations to be agents of healing and wholeness, we propose that for the 2014 funding cycle the PR/AR Committee give priority to grant applications by churches and non-profits in the region that propose:
• Innovative and creative projects/programs aimed at fostering healthy conversations on racism in a community;
• Projects/programs aimed at the empowerment of marginalized communities or cultivation of relationships between different communities;
• Projects/programs that seek to change the systems that cause racial discrimination (e.g., existing laws, company policies and practices);
• Projects/programs that seek to change attitudes through education, personal involvement and shared common experience;
• Projects/programs that creatively deal with or address current social problems specific to a community.
The PR/AR Committee believes the new funding priorities will create opportunities for local congregations to further their mission and be actively involved in the work of pro-reconciliation/anti-racism. In addition, they will create new opportunities for the committee and CCIW council members to become active in our region to identify, cultivate, and support Reconciliation fund recipients in their work. The programs and projects could be done within a local congregation, through a partnership between a local congregation and a community organization, or some other partnership that promotes the Region’s commitment to becoming a fully transformed, anti-racist, multicultural church.
In September 2013, the AR/PR Committee and Team met jointly to discuss these priorities. The Team responded enthusiastically and committed to equipping local congregations and church leaders in the Region to engage in constructive conversations about and directly combatting the systemic nature of racism.