Racial Justice Workshop
Working toward racial justice in church and society is a life-long "heart" journey. We are all—people of every colour and cultural background—touched by the sin of racism, although in different ways. Together we must continue to learn from each other, with each other, and with the Spirit, so that we continue to break down barriers and build right relationship and just institutions.
Because we need to work together for racial justice within our church and because we believe that we are a "whole people of God" with a "priesthood of all believers," racial justice workshops are open to both lay people and ministry personnel.
These workshops will offer an overview of the work of racial justice and are one step on the journey. The purpose of the racial justice workshops is threefold:
- to engage in self-examination around privilege and internalized racism (superiority and inferiority)
- to engage in analysis of the systemic nature of racism within the church and wider society
- to offer tools for leaders to begin or continue the work of racial justice in local ministry contexts
Workshops will have periods for individual reflection, small group work, and large group discussion. Participants will be encouraged to deepen their learning journeys outside of the workshops.
Intro to Racial Justice – for White People
Intro to Racial Justice – for Black, Indigenous or People of Colour
This two-part program is mandatory for all ministry personnel within our denomination, and optional for anyone else.
During this program we'll reflect on the history and nature of racism in Canada, and in the church.
We will be meeting in separate groups according to our racial identities: one group are people who self-identify as Indigenous, Black and other Peoples of Colour (BIPOCs)*** and another group are people who self-identify as White. Please be sure to sign up for the course that reflects your own racial identity.
Why are we meeting in separate groups for these initial sessions? It is because the learning needs of BIPOCs are often different from the learning needs of White people. Because of their lived experiences, BIPOCs certainly have different day-to-day realities than those of White people. At times, in past educational sessions, BIPOCs were often called on to “educate” White people about racism but did not necessarily have opportunities to do their own learnings. And White people have sometimes felt that the need to self-censor because they did not want to say anything “wrong” in front of a BIPOC person, even if they had genuine questions about racial justice. As a result, not everyone was receiving the full educational experience.
The Rev. Dr. Bill Smith, previous Chairperson of the Dismantling White Privilege Working Group, also adds the following, “The White Privilege Working Group realizes that separating into groups along racial lines may be uncomfortable for some and may be seen as an act of segregation.” There is, however, a difference between historical segregation and creating settings by self-identified groups that are beneficial for people to have their own space and conversations. The method used in these racial justice sessions is by self-identified groups and is in response to requests made by people who are Indigenous, racialized, and bi-racial to have their own space for dialogue.
Our churches have a history of occasionally gathering people separately, based on their identities or their learnings needs—many churches, for example, will gather children and youth separately for Sunday school or youth programs (instead of being part of the worship service). Similarly, self-identified women might gather separately as part of the United Church Women. For this particular educational program on racial justice, having groups meet separately who self-identify differently racially can take into consideration the different lived experiences and different learning needs of people’s encounters with race. It offers a safer (or brave) space for people to explore questions with people who may have had similar experiences with as themselves.
*** We want to note that language is ever-changing and evolving, and language is always imperfect. Previously, this workshop has used the term “racialized” to denote a reference to all people of colours. At the moment, we are using the term BIPOC for racialized. We encourage the participants of these workshops to please be mindful not to get hang up on the terms as labels to one’s racial identity. The intent of the workshop is to help us work towards our commitment on dismantling systemic racism in our denomination and local communities of faith.
Racial Justice: Creating an Affirming and Transforming Space
This two-part program will focus on moving from the victimizing power of racism to helping the church become an affirming and transforming space. This space will be defined by practicing healthy intercultural relations. Strategizing expressions of healthy intercultural relations where power is redistributed in the system called The United Church of Canada would be the end goal of these sessions.
This program is open to anyone who has completed one of the Intro courses. It is optional for Ministry Personnel.
Racial justice training for all active ministry personnel was mandated at the 39th General Council 2006. The proposal came out of a long history of the United Church's engagement with issues of social justice. In 2000, the United Church adopted its Anti-Racism Policy statement; racial justice training is one effort to help the church continue to live out its principles.
As of 2017 we're also opening this program to all members of the church. The Program Committe on Programs, Mission and Ministry notes, "The current form of the racial justice training is receiving very good feedback, and it is therefore particularly commended to people serving in any leadership capacity within the church."
Currently, unlike the Boundaries credential, this credential does NOT need to be refreshed every five years. Those who have done racial justice training previously, either online with United-in-Learning or in a Conference-based course, need not take it again. Everyone, however, must complete the Intro course of this credential in order to register for the second course.
Sorry, but there are no products matching this criteria. Please try again.