In July of 2020, the Collister UMC congregation committed to engaging in weekly steps towards self-examination and understanding of bias and white privilege.We also committed to pursuing our call to dismantle systemic racism in our time and place. The following videos and links document this weekly journey. We call it our “Course of Study,” and we invite you to journey with us!
Please watch the following introductory video from Pastor Joe Bankard:
Welcome to Week 1 in our Course of Study on Racial Justice! We welcome you here and are so glad you're on this journey with us!
Week 2:Implicit Bias and an invitation to debrief and process your results
In order to process the information learned through the Implicit Bias Test, a Zoom debrief was held on July 31, 2020.
Every safe space needs some ground rules to ensure that everyone feels welcome and heard, even as we experience discomfort and growing pains.We used these ground rules in our discussions and actions, and recommend them to others who may want to embark on this journey!
Group Guidelines/Rules 1. Don't do this alone: this is a communal work, ideally. You need a conversation partner. 2. Mutual respect for all those participating in the conversation and a shared attitude of seeking to understand. This includes personal remarks towards other participants, staying on topic (avoiding “rabbit trails”), and allowing others to speak without interrupting. 3. Being mindful of not monopolizing discussion, and allowing others to share their questions or process new understandings. 4. Do small groups: otherwise, it can feel like a sermon or lecture rather than true sharing. 5. Build in time for chitchat before any online sessions: if you're like our church, there's lots of small talk we enjoy before every event! 6. Begin and end in prayer.
Individually, we must learn to navigate discomfort. Some questions to ask yourself as you do the work: 1. Pause. There’s no need to respond or say anything right away. Just sit with the uncomfortable sensations and let them settle.
2. Why? Am I feeling hurt, uncomfortable, defensive? Is it because I don’t want to face the reality of this? Is it because I relate to this? Am I complicit in this? Do I benefit from this? etc.
3. Do I still have questions after I’ve processed 1. and 2.? Ask away :)
The Debrief Debrief :-) Our fellow congregant Wendy shares her experiences here:
Week 3:Implicit Bias and steps towards reducing it in our lives
Here we go! This will be a lot of learning and some struggle. Before you view this week's step in our anti-racism journey, please read Luke 24:13-32. Here is Pastor Jenny!
Week 4:Implicit Bias: Our ongoing journey
Please watch this TED Talk from Jennifer Eberhardt:
Week 5: White Supremacy and American Christianity
Dr Drew Hart, author of Trouble I’ve Seen, came to Boise in July 2020. This video recording shares his presentation to clergy and people of faith on the lawn of the Idaho Black History Museum. He tells about the history of American Christianity and racism.
Week 6: History of Racism in the Church and an invitation to debrief
This week, we have a 'debrief' Zoom call again to help us all process what we're learning. Zoom Call
Week 7: The History of Racism in the United Methodist Church I
The United Methodist church has a very rich story of standing against racism and working towards ending it, and of course this story continues to this day! But it's also very important to understand and become aware of our own institutionalized racism, and how our polity and doctrine became entangled in white supremacy. Our anti-racism work continues as we look more closely at our denomination's racist history.
Week 9: The History of Racism in the United Methodist Church III
For the past few weeks, our course of study has led us in a discovery of our American Methodist roots. We started with the story of Rev. Richard Allen and last week reviewed our founder, John Wesley’s, “Thoughts of Slavery.” Now, we invite you to read a commentary by Rev. Ian Straker:
In it, he refers to the recent legislation submitted to the Senate by U.S.. Senator Thomas Cotton, a United Methodist. His proposed legislation that would remove federal funding from schools that use the “1619 Project” as a resource in teaching American history. The 1619 project is a New York Times initiative that looks at our country's history by placing the long-term consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans, at the center of our national narrative. You can find the 1619 Project here: 1619 Project
And so we continue to navigate the complexities that involved the growth of our Methodist denomination, alongside a deeper understanding of the denomination's entanglement within our country’s history, even in the midst of today's voices that seek to minimize the impact of that history.
“A full accounting of the Methodist track record on race reveals that in every era of the church’s life, race has been a source of contention and strife. Senator Cotton’s misleading argument that the nation’s founders understood slavery to be a “necessary evil” would not have swayed Wesley, but it does highlight the importance of accurately and fully knowing, embracing and sharing our history — warts and all. We are living that contested history now, many of us armed with the hope that this time we will get it right: Justice will achieve a lasting victory, racism and its cohort “isms” will be defeated, and United Methodists will lead the world into a vision of Christian peace and love.” - Rev. Ian Straker
Week 10: Final Week of Racism in the United Methodist Church
Our Racial Justice Course of Study takes one more look at our Methodist Denomination’s history on race. This video is an excellent overview of some of the events we’ve covered over the past few weeks. It also allows for deeper understanding of the segregation and systems created during Jim Crow, such as the Central Jurisdiction. (Warning... the video is somewhat dated, but offers excellent perspective to our journey of understanding our roots).
Week 11: Understanding White Privilege
The next section of our course of study focuses on white privilege. For some, this term creates immediate defensiveness and negative emotions. I encourage you to give this section a chance. I strongly believe that many will find it helpful. Part of racial justice is recognizing the privilege that comes from being white. This privilege can be used to dismantle systems of oppression. First, readthis article about white privilege. It will help give an overall definition, data to support the conclusion, and the like. Second, watch this video from pastor Joe:
Week 12: Understanding White Privilege
This week we continue our exploration and understanding of white privilege. Pastor Joe's video from last week helped us begin to understand the meaning of "white privilege," and an awareness of how this may influence our lives and our future. This week, we have four steps we'd like you to make: 1. Watch this short introductory video by Natalie Campbell, member of our Racial Justice Ministry Team
3. Journal your responses to the following questions:
Have you ever been expected or asked to speak for your race?
How do policies or behaviors protect you or put you in danger?
What patterns do you notice in the 50 statements?
What does the phrase "earned strength, unearned power" mean to you?
What do you think of the phrase "Individual acts can palliate but cannot end these problems"?
4. Click this link: Collister Questions to answer one question about your exploration with white privilege thus far. Your response will be anonymous and all answers will help generate a "wordall" showing our faith community's responses as we journey together. It will be wonderful if everyone can do this step! We look forward to sharing the results next week!
Week 13: Zoom Debrief
Join the Collister Community in a debrief on our journaling and wordwall.
Week 14: White Privilege
This week in our Racial Justice Course of study, our own Christina Smerick, breaks down white privilege and white fragility. Christina is also a Philosophy Professor at NNU, and brings wonderful examples of research and humor to her presentation! Please join us for week 14 of our faith communities journey together.