In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. Galatians 3:28 (The Message)
The Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism Team of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Illinois and Wisconsin was called into being to answer God’s call to be a transformed, multicultural, anti-racist church.
Dick Hamm, then General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, introduced racism as a topic for discernment in 1994. In 1996, the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) approved the formation of a church-wide process to discern the nature of racism in North America and to develop ways of helping congregations address racism. Illinois/Wisconsin Region was one of the first regions asked to participate in this process.
HISTORY OF THE INITIATIVE IN CCIW
At the Regional Board Meeting (predecessor to the Regional Council) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Illinois and Wisconsin in September, 1998, a motion was made, seconded, and carried “that the Board approve CCIW establishing a process to become an anti-racist institution by engaging in a two day anti-racism workshop, engage Crossroads Ministry as the agency to work with us, create a task force of 8-10 people appointed by the Chair of the Regional Board, and coordinate a long range program in the Region to challenge racism and create an anti-racism agenda for the Region.”
Following the Regional Assembly of CCIW in November of that year, an Anti-Racism Team consisting of eight people was selected. In 1999 seven members of the Team completed ten days of training offered by Crossroads Ministry. Membership of the Team has changed over the years with some members moving away or no longer able to serve and new members joining to add new life and new insights to the ministry. Our purpose is to organize and train to bring awareness of the root causes of racism and to lead CCIW and its congregations on the journey of becoming an anti-racist/pro-reconciling institution.
The PR/AR Team has conducted workshops for congregations, youth events, clergy, Regional Committees, Region Council, and Regional Assemblies. The Team has sponsored region-wide events such as the one at Eureka College with Jim Wallis, editor and publisher of Sojourners magazine and author of America’s Original Sin, as the featured speaker, Rerouting the School to Prison Pipeline, and two to three day intensive trainings on the analysis/understanding of systemic racism.
FUTURE OF THE INITIATIVE IN CCIW
With the resurgence of open racism we see in the news today, we cannot deny the sin of racism is still with us today. The church spreading God’s love and acceptance of all of God’s creation is our hope for a future. As CCIW continues to make pro-reconciliation/anti-racism a priority in its purpose and values, we invite you to pray for the PR/AR Team’s ministry, support the Team through giving to the Reconciliation Offering, join the Team, invite the Team to partner with your congregation by requesting team members to:
- Facilitate a book study with the focus on racism
- Facilitate a series of racial discussions
- Facilitate a movie night discussing racism
- Facilitate a series of 4 short films discussing racism
- Work with congregational leaders to prepare them to facilitate book studies or movie discussion about racism
- Facilitate a three-hour or one day workshop—introduction to the analysis of racism
- Facilitate a one or two-day anti-bias workshop for those working with children
- Sponsor an intensive 2½ day workshop on the analysis of racism
- Help to organize a Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism Team within your congregation, cluster, or community
- Work with the congregation on any additional specific needs related to pro-reconciliation/anti-racism ministry
For further information or to request a workshop contact PR/ART co-chairs: