White Privilege Conference
I have only attended once, but I can attest that the White Privilege Conference (WPC), is a vital experience for those who want to be equipped to strive effectively for a world, and a church, that look more like the Kindom of God. A glance at the headlines, or an honest assessment of the PC(USA), provides ample evidence that we have a long way to go, and even the best intentions won’t get us there; we need education, skills, and a committed team.
Acting PMA Executive Director Dave Crittenden has been to two WPCs and is disappointed that a schedule conflict will keep him from the 2018 event: “Attending the White Privilege Conference was a revelation for me. It gave me a new lens through which to look at the reality of how the world is structured, and especially how it functions for people who don’t look like me; and once you have recognized how ingrained white supremacy is in our culture and systems, you can’t un-see it. I am much more aware of my own privilege, and motivated to use that in ways that are helpful to those who don’t have it. My first experience was consciousness-transforming, and I hope life-changing—I want my thoughts and actions to contribute to improving things. I could go repeatedly and continue to learn. All church leaders should go, and bring their people with them.”
In tune with the recent adoption of the Confession of Belhar, Co-Moderators Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston have encouraged church-wide focus on related issues, including their initiative, One Church One Book. WPC is a great opportunity to get serious and/or go deeper.
WPC19 will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, April 4–7, 2018. The theme is “Super People & Super Powers: Prepare to Be the Future of Social Justice Work.” The conference addresses many interrelated aspects of privilege and oppression. Registration is open now. Use the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) discount code, PCWPC19, for 10 percent off the full conference registration fee. Volunteering at the conference is another way to reduce costs.
I hope to see you and others from your synod and presbytery in Grand Rapids! We will work to organize connections for all the Presbyterians who attend. For more information, contact Molly Casteel, Manager for Equity and Representation, 502-569-5407 or Molly.Casteel@pcusa.org.
If the timing of WPC19 doesn’t work—or for more than one opportunity to explore these issues—another significant event will come along this fall. Facing Race: A National Conference will be held November 8–10, 2018 at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan. We’ll pass along more details as they become available.
Revised Advisory Handbook for Preparation for Ministry
The new edition of the Advisory Handbook for Preparation for Ministry reflects amendments to the Book of Order approved by the presbyteries in 2017. If your presbytery incorporates portions into your own policies and procedures manual, you might find it convenient that each section of the Advisory Handbook is available in separate PDF and Word document files.
As immigration arrests continue to increase, we ask that you be aware of those in your region who are at risk. Many immigrant congregations are suffering as members are detained, deported, or disappear. Fear also keeps members from attending church. This is not about someone’s immigration status, but about how we care for one another. The Office of Immigration Issues has released resources you might find helpful as you accompany and support others:
If you have specific questions or concerns, please reach out to the Office of Immigration Issues:
- Supporting immigrants suggests ways to lend energy, agency, and voice to support at-risk communities.
- Family Care Plan assists at-risk individuals to prepare for hard decisions if they are detained or deported. This can also help the community know how to step in and provide appropriate care.
- Dreamers and DACA will help you learn more about this specific group of young immigrants and how you can support them.
- Genesis of Exodus film has a wealth of information about migration from Central America to the United States and guides conversation and reflection to action.
Gleaned from e-newsletters:
- The Presbytery of Muskingum Valley has published a Prayer Partners List for the year.
- Meetings of the Presbytery of Newton this year will be focusing on “What breaks God’s heart?” Examples: the opioid crisis, #MeToo.
Your committees and congregations might benefit from:
African Immigrant Churches
The Office of Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries provides support to African immigrant worshiping communities. For partnership in serving African congregations, fellowships, or 1001 NWCs, contact the Office of African Intercultural Ministries: Princeton Abaraoha, (214) 251-9830, Princeton.Abaraoha@pcusa.org.
Presbyterian Women is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and as part of the observance they are conducting a survey inviting members and friends to reflect on the highlights of their involvement. Please pass along this link to your congregations with encouragement to participate: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CPVYLRH.