Hope Born Out of History: Telling the Whole Truth
Too often we allow ourselves to be lulled into thinking that we are living in a post-racial world, where racism doesn’t shape our culture and our lives. Too often, we ignore the evils of racism, preferring instead to dwell in partial truths and spiritual platitudes. This tendency causes us to tame the calls to action from prophets like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. How is the church today being called to deep transformation? How do we combat the remnants of the sin of segregation? In the BWC, we can learn from many examples.
- Article: “What Have We Wrought: The Legacy of the Washington Conference” by Rev. Dr. C. Anthony Hunt, is an exploration of how the effects of the church’s segregation in the past persist in United Methodism today.
- Scripture: Psalm 133:1-3
Small Group Session Agenda
Triune God: You are with us.
Creator of community and the unity of creation, You have claimed us as Your very own.
You’ve made us One people. We are One Nation, indivisible under the power of Your existence.
You have created humanity in Your image. Nothing in our limited vision can distort that truth.
You are the Way the Truth and the Life.
You are the Truth that perfects our limited knowledge.
You are the Life that gives us purpose and animation.
You are the Reason that we live, move and have our being.
Thank You for all that You are and for all that You call us to be this day.
As we dwell together in unity, speak Lord, and bestow Your blessings upon us.
In the Name of Jesus, we ask it all. Amen.
In the gift of this moment, we affirm that we are divinely loved and lovable.
We are the children of God.
Together, we will learn from the actions and words of one another.
Christ’s lessons on love are centered in how we treat others and in how we treat ourselves.
We will exercise courage in this study as we share stories of struggle and strength.
We will stay at the table and receive those stories with grace.
We will not be afraid to launch into the deep.
We will commit to the vulnerability necessary to allow God to break us open.
We will set and respect boundaries and honor confidentiality together.
When uncertainty arises, we will remember the Spirit of “peace that passes our own understanding” and can intercede for us.
We will remember that even when we don’t feel “United,”
The uniting love of Christ can reveal a pathway to greater
wisdom and mutual respect.
No matter what, there is a place for each one of us in this study together.
Let us hold each other up in prayer, hold each other accountable in love, and
trust that our God is making all things new.
Thank you for the gift of being present to one another in this holy time.
Video with Dr. C. Anthony Hunt
The Rev. Dr. C. Anthony Hunt is pastor of Epworth Chapel UMC in Baltimore.
Head & Heart Discussion
- How do we acknowledge and affirm the full humanity of all people?
- In what ways, as individuals and churches, might we commit to telling and embracing our stories?
- What does God expect of us when it comes to overcoming racism and other forms of segregation? What are we prepared to do to work toward it?
BEYOND THIS SESSION
Prayer and Pathway to Journaling
Often, when we become reflexively resistant to what we’ve experienced through study, it is pointing towards an area worthy of more reflection and prayer. In this part of study, we invite you to examine your areas of resistance or struggle. Allow God to reveal how transformation can occur in those areas.
Use these open-ended questions to facilitate your introspection:
- What surprised you or caught your attention?
- How does the discussion we had apply to your life, your church, our denomination?
- Where is the Spirit revealing to you areas for growth and transformation?
- How does what we talked about transform your relationship with God and others?
- Write a prayer to ask for God’s support and enlightenment, which applies what you learned, and then go forth and live it.
- Timeline: “Lessons of the Black Church in History: A listing of key dates,” by Bishop Forrest Stith; a listing of highlights of African-American history and accomplishments within The Methodist Church.
- Book: This Far by Faith: Stories from the African American Religious Experience, by Juan Williams, the companion piece to the PBS series, which examines how faith inspired the Civil Rights movement.
- The Northeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church issued a “Call to Action for Racial Justice” in 2016. Find curriculum and resources here.
- Have a viewing party and conversation about one of the two documentaries listed Finding Fellowship: The Quince Orchard Project. This hour-long documentary is a story of one community's story of overcoming division with intentionality and includes some of the story of three churches (one black and two white) that became Fairhaven UMC.
Or, We’ve Come This Far by Faith, a 30-minute history of the Delaware and Washington Conferences and Black Methodism in this region.
Telling the whole truth family album