For the past two days, Joy Berry and I have been in Morristown, NJ for a two-day module of Beloved Conversations, “an experiential curriculum that provides a space to re-form/fuse the brokenness of racism into new patterns of thought and behavior ushering in social and spiritual healing. New ways of being are learned through the actions of conversation and probing dialogue.” We are participating as a staff team, and will come home with a project, which we will share with all of you.
So far, the module has been thought-provoking, and has called us to deeper engagement with our own experiences of race and oppression, our white privilege, and the ways in which our other identities intersect. For me, there have been a number of moments of making mistakes and being vulnerable that have felt uncomfortable, but have drawn me deeper into reflection about who I am and how I move in the world. I have had the opportunity to grapple with some of the challenges of my privilege, and to receive support from colleagues. It has been life-giving and inspiring, and it has pushed me out of my comfort zone.
This work of digging deep into uncomfortable spaces, learning how to create a container that can hold our varied experiences, and continually recommitting to being a force for change – called to create just relationships – is powerful, life-giving work.
It is the foundation of our Black Lives Matter initiative. We have envisioned this work in three parts: Engaging our personal internal work, supporting and building relationships with community organizations, and working to dismantle the systems that oppress us. This internal work is foundational because it is how we undergird our work in the community with integrity and authenticity.
I can’t tell you what our project will be because it is still in its infancy, but I very much look forward to sharing our ideas with you when we return, and continuing this challenging and engaging work for freedom, justice, and love.
Thank-you and Joy for taking on this “undergirding work”…we are so proud that we have women who are our leaders who challenge themselves to lean into their “uncomfortable” places so that we all may grow! I look forward to share and discover with you our further work for freedom, justice, and love.
I don’t know if this will help with ideas for a project, but I think that one of the greatest hurdles our under-served population in Asheville faces is transportation. I have seen this quite frequently in my work and could tell you some of my clients’ experiences they have faced to keep jobs, get kids to daycare, even grocery shopping. I would love to partner, as a congregation, with Wheels for Love, a non-profit for transportation similar to Habitat for Humanity.