Introducing … The Heartland Presbytery Three-Year Initiative: Continuing the Conversations around Racism and Privilege
Who are we? We are the various individuals, leaders, committees, and commissions that sponsored the Fear+Less Dialogues event.
Leaders from New Worshipping Communities, Presbyterian Urban and Immigrant Ministry Network, Congregational Ministries, Mission and Social Justice, Peacemaking, and our Interim Executive Presbyter.
Why did we form? As the plans for Fear+Less Dialogues were being made, early in 2019 we all felt that this event should be only the beginning of an intentional, years-long process of conversations and actions. A proposal was brought to Council and approved. We have been meeting for several months now and benefited from consulting with Giddings Lovejoy Presbytery, who recently concluded a three-year initiative. We have spent time processing recent events from our own Presbytery, gathering resources to share and considering ways to continue and deepening these conversations. We have participated in local anti-racism trainings and shared our growth and experiences.
Ideas that are percolating or in formation:
- Providing anti-racism training for all our pastors and leaders in the presbytery through our own Open Table.
- Providing institutional bias training and an internalized audit for our Presbytery leadership.
- Creating a resource list for each church and leader to access that provides recommended reading, movies, and experiences which will hopefully continue the conversations
- Organizing five facilitated discussion groups with the Presbytery Reads book, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.
- Supporting the Presbytery Journey to Alabama to visit numerous sites and museums.
Additional ideas that have emerged that we are hopeful others in the presbytery will initiate and lead:
- Local day trips to sites on the civil rights trails (Lee’s Summit history, Brown vs Board, Levi Harrington Lynching memorial in KC, Quindaro).
- Cultivating a discussion facilitator pool for churches who are wanting to explore more.
- Auto driving tour of Kansas City that details the history of real estate practices and housing covenants that led to the black/white divide in our city.
- Exploring the many ways that location and community demographics affect our perceptions of one another and challenge our ability and desire to work together.
Maybe we can be of support to you or your ideas.
If you are wanting to create an experience or an idea, we would love to come alongside you to brainstorm possibilities or support you in making this idea a reality. If you have an interest, want to ask questions, or would like to join in a project or lead a purposeful event, we invite you to reach out to Heartland Presbytery 816.924.1730 or email@example.com.
Images from the Fear+less Dialogues Event
Heartland Presbytery Report on Racism
Dismantling Structural Racism—One good place to start is by taking the 21-Day Racial Justice Challenge, which is well suited to individuals, churches and mid councils. The challenge invites us to do something every day to raise awareness about the perniciousness of racism and encourage action in response to that awareness. The PC(USA) has joined several nonprofits, organizations and school systems in adapting the challenge for our use.
Matthew 25—There are many resources embedded in the Matthew 25 challenge from PC(USA). As a Matthew 25 Presbytery, and with several of our Matthew 25 churches, these may help you think through what you can do and how you can engage.
Mid-Council Leaders of the PC(USA)—We Stand video.
Belhar Confession—The full version of the Confession of Belhar, originally published September 1986. This version was added to the Book of Confessions in 2016 by the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at its meeting in Portland, Oregon.
The Confession of 1967—Inclusive language text.
Racial Justice Resources—from the PC(USA).
Indigenous Perspectives Resources—It is heartening that a few professional sports franchises are finally talking about retiring offensive names and logos, but white Americans still have a lot more to answer for when it comes to treatment of those whose ancestors were already in this land when our ancestors arrived. OGA’s manager for equity and inclusion, Molly Casteel, has provided some suggested reading for those wishing to learn more about the experiences of Indigenous peoples in North America.
Racial Equity—from the Presbyterian Mission.
Racial Equity and Women’s Intercultural Ministries—from the Presbyterian Mission.
J. Herbert Nelson Video—Stated Clerk remembers recent victims of racial violence—May 2020.
J. Herbert Nelson Story—Stated Clerk: ‘No longer can we hide behind not being controversial.’
PMA President’s Statement—PMA President and Executive Director Diane Moffett issues statement on recent protests, shootings—June 2020.
Office of Public Witness—The Presbyterian Office of Public Witness is the public policy information and advocacy office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Its task is to advocate, and help the church to advocate, the social witness perspectives and policies of the Presbyterian General Assembly.
Office of Public Witness Director’s Statement—”A Time for Action,” a statement from the Director of the Office of Public Witness, Rev. Jimmie R. Hawkins.
Resources for Kansas City
Dividing Lines: A History of Segregation in Kansas City—Journey through the history of segregation in the Kansas City metro, primarily through its real estate. The audio tour is designed so that you can safely drive through the city at your own pace while hearing stories about each area you travel through.
The Open Table—A divided world requires honest dialogue in order to strengthen and heal. We believe in the dignity of all people, and the sins of racism and injustice harm that image. The Open Table provides trainings about racism, organizing, and de-escalation that work across racial lines, creating a space for dialogue that acknowledges systemic cultural sins, and offers strategies and skills to challenge institutional barriers. Our trainers have been trained by Tseng Development Group, an organization with over 20 years of experience in anti-racism curriculum development. All the trainings are interactive and facilitated by both people of color and white folks together.
More 2: Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity—Presbyterian pastor Rev. Rick Behrens with Minister Kiku Brooks co-chair this organization and Lora McDonald is the Executive Director. This organization was created in 2004 representing different faith traditions, cultural backgrounds, races, and economic means. Thirty-two congregations and many individual members participate in their work. They work to change policies through grassroots movements, in ways that promote racial and economic equity in Kansas and Missouri.
Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ-KC)—This group organizes white people, as part of a multi-racial majority, for racial justice.
One Struggle KC—This is a collective of Kansas City activists seeking to connect the struggles of oppressed Black communities, locally and globally.
Resmaa Menakem—‘Notice the Rage; Notice the Silence’
Jan Edmiston—White People: Walking on Eggshells
The Work of the People—Films for discovery and transformation including racism resources and visual liturgies.
Second Presbyterian Church—Anti-Racism Resources
Accessible Resources for Children, Youth, & Parents
Responding to Racism—This one-session youth study from The Thoughtful Christian helps leaders guide preteens and teens through the complicated subject of racism. This handout is also useful for parents to encourage a family study.
Brian the Brave—This picture book provides a creative way to talk about bias based on race and language with very young children.
Rev. Paul Davidson, Pastor & Puppeteer at New Hope Parish—Kids TV Protecting Others.
Center for Racial Justice in Education—Talking About Race, Racism & Racialized Violence with Kids
New York Times—Reading List for Talking to Kids about Racism
Christian Century—Teaching Children about Racism
Presbyterians Moved to Action
Rev. Hallie Hottle from Village Presbyterian Church—Daily Video Devotional reflecting and praying on the Kansas City Protests.
Rev. Brandon Frick from Village Presbyterian Church—Daily Video Devotional discussing his experience with the Kansas City Protests.
Darron Story—A professional recording artist and the voice of Magic Inspirations on 107.3 FM on Sunday 7 a.m.–12 noon. He is also a worship leader at South-Broadland Presbyterian Church in Kansas City. On Sunday, June 7 this video was recorded in Independence, MO at the Community of Christ Temple.
Rev. Paul Davidson, Pastor & Puppeteer at New Hope Parish—Kids TV Protecting Others.
Village Presbyterian Church—Sermon Series on Racism
The Hate U Give
When They See Us (Netflix)
American Son (Netflix)
Fruitvale Station ($3.99 rental, Amazon Prime)
Just Mercy (Free through June, Amazon Prime)
I Am Not Your Negro (Amazon Prime)
Selma (Amazon Prime)
After Selma (Amazon Prime)
Get Out ($3.99 rental, Amazon Prime)
Remember the Titans