This summer in our congregational life we anticipate space to breathe, to reflect on our spring Journeying Together Faithfully study (an intentional conversation our congregation has hosted around matters of human sexuality and faith), and to begin implementation of recommendations from Healthier Church, and simply to rest in God's creation, enjoying summer.
We also know many of us feel called and inspired by God to continue conversations around matters of importance. So we invite you to join a core team for a summer long conversation on issues of race, community violence, and criminal justice. As our nation and culture struggles mightily with these issues, our goal is to nurture a fall congregational and community space to host a civil conversation for faith-based reflection leading to advocacy and action.
During the summer months, our core team will read background articles and blogs and books, perhaps do some field trips or interview community leaders, and share insights. This team will "practice" what we will then host in the fall. If you're interested in helping design publicity, lead small group discussions in the fall, or more, please gather with us for our first conversation Sunday May 31st during the 10 a.m. education hour. Feel free also to adapt this model for your own congregational context.
Possible fall Sunday study topics:
I. The ELCA Race, Ethnicity and Culture social statement
II. Guest panel with leaders of the recent peace march inSpringdale
III. Discuss On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City
by Elizabeth Goffman
IV. How can we do more than just talk? (individually)
V. Break for social time and fellowship
VI. Guest panel with African-American leaders in Fayetteville
VII. The ELCA Criminal Justice social statement
VIII. Discuss Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation (Prophetic Christianity)
by Jennifer Harvey
IX. How can we do more than just talk? (congregationally)
X. ELCA Social Message on Community Violence
XI. Guest panel with police officers/prosecuting attorneys
XII. Discuss Redeeming a Prison Society: A Liturgical and Sacramental Response to Mass Incarceration by Amy Levad
XIII. How can we do more than just talk? (communally)
The "how can we do more than just talk?" sessions will be an integral part of this study process, so that collectively we develop strategies for working for peace and justice in God's world, thereby fulfilling the promises made in our baptism.