THE BELOVED COMMUNITY…

 Toward the Beloved Community

How God’s Grace Builds Bridges Around Race

MLK Bridges, a collaborative effort of Grace and Race Ministries, Inc. and Kingdom Mission Society  invites you to a symposium event on Saturday, October 13, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. – 3 pm. at St. Teresa of Avila Roman Catholic Church, 1244 V Street SE, Washington DC 20020.

We will explore the theme of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr. Beloved Community  with a special focus on how God’s grace can help us overcome some of the challenges presented by the racial divide.  The keynote speaker will be Rev. Dr. C. Anthony Hunt, Sr. Pastor of Epworth Chapel, United Methodist Church in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Hunt is also an author and  professor of  systematic, moral and practical theology at The Ecumenical Institute of St. Mary’s Institute at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore. He has developed “The Beloved Community Toolkit” which will be shared during the symposium.

Participants will have the opportunity to engage in conversation and share opportunities for building bridges of understanding in the faith community. Continental breakfast and  a lunch will be provided.

Registration is $30 for individuals; $40 for teams of 2 people.

You can register here – https://kingdommissionsociety.org/events/toward-the-beloved-community-how-grace-builds-bridges-around-race/1539421200/1539442800/

Grace and Race 10th Anniversary

Saturday, 1 September 2018, 19:43 | Category : Building Bridges of Hope to End Racism
Tags :

What a joy it was to gather with some of our partners and friends to celebrate our 10th year of striving to build bridges of understanding across the racial divide! We firmly believe that our Christian faith requires us to respond in paradoxical ways in a social climate that builds walls and creates separation rather than unity.  

We opened our day with scripture, prayer, song and this litany drafted for the occasion. It is our prayer that every reader will embrace the spirit reflected in these prayerful words. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Grace and Race 10th Anniversary Litany

Lord, make known to me your will for my life and help me to do it.

BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Let me not be used as a bully or a pawn, but let me be an instrument of equality and peace.

BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Let me use the word of God as a lamp and a light unto the world, rather than as a tool to divide us.

BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Let me be willing to examine my motives and the secret places of my heart when I encounter people who are different from me.

BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Let me intentionally invite people, who don’t look like me, to my house of worship, so we can experience the Holy Spirit together.

BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Let me no longer be silent about the ills and pain of racism in conversations with my family and closest friends

BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Let not only my spoken words, but also my written words reflect a new perspective of God’s love for all humanity

BY THE GRACE OF GOD         

Let me commit both time and resources to the amelioration and elimination of racism and discrimination

BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Let me no longer be comfortable living my life “business as usual.”  But let me recognize that the “business” needs to change.

BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Let me continually seek direction from God to transform me into a change agent to build his beloved community until justice runs down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.

BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Amen!

Reverend Renee Williams Thomas, Author

Grace and Race Ministries, Inc. 10th Anniversary

Thursday, 2 August 2018, 18:57 | Category : Building Bridges of Hope to End Racism
Tags :

Grace and Race Ministries invites you to join us  as wecelebrate 1o years of striving to build bridges of understanding regarding issues of racism. On Saturday, August 25, 2018 we will convene at the Mount Vernon Square United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 900 Massachusetts Avenue NW, 20001 from 10 am – 2 pm. Continental breakfast and lunch are included in the registration. Tickets are $30 until August 18,  then $35 . 

  We believe creating opportunities for people to develop trusting relationships based on the shared goal of  disrupting and ending is an important part of the work. We acknowledge that there are many churches and faith-based organizations   are already involved in working toward becoming the beloved community.  We can do even  more  when we collaborative.

There will be edutainment, information, inspiration, and time for fellowship to make connections.  We will have an update from the Unite to End Racism work of the National Council of Churches. There will also be an opportunity to for others to share their work.

You can register by going to Eventbrite and search Grace and Race or click below. 
https://bit.ly/2LHfh8S

Hope to see you there!

My Blindspot to Romans 13

Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 20:42 | Category : Building Bridges of Hope to End Racism
Tags : , , ,

 

Learning to read and study the Bible was an important step in my spiritual formation. My grandmother would tell me to memorize verses of scripture to serve as encouragement and guidance. She would say “you should always have the Word of God in your heart even when can’t have a Bible in your hand.”

I can remember some of the lessons I was taught about how to read and study the Bible:find a quiet time and place, take notes, (we didn’t dare write in the Bible), pray, read, reflect, and to respond to the question, “How can I apply this biblical narrative to my life?” I also learned about the potential danger of using a scripture to justify or promote my point of view.

I am aware of the context in which Romans 13 was written and I am also keenly aware of what crosses my mind when I read the words in verse 1-7 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God…” This text has been used in support of slavery and of unjust immigration policies resulting in children and parents being separated.  When I must read Romans 13, I hasten to get to end the of the chapter to be reminded of what I believe to be true, even in our present context.

In the book, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald, the authors discuss a broad range of biases all of us have hidden in our brains.  These hidden biases can show up to influence our relationships with people based on our exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality and more.

Today, I am acknowledging my religious bias, my blind spot, my personal preference for one interpretation of a text over another, based on my lived experiences as a Christian. The concluding verses of Romans 13 focus on the paramount  importance of the command to love.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

The more I study the Word of God, the more I realize I have major blind spots, the more I thank God for His love, mercy, and grace.

Dear God, thank you for loving me in spite of my failures. Help me to recognize and address my biases, as I strive to honor Your clear and concise commandment to love my neighbors. Amen

Appalling Silence

Appalling Silence

Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out. Luke 19:37-40 NKJV

I was preparing materials for a racism workshop to be held during an observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As I studied his most famous writings, this quote from his letter from the Birmingham Jail, disturbed me. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. (emphasis added) Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co- workers with God…

I have read and recited those words many times, but in the current climate in our nation, the weight of the words hang heavy on me as one who professes to believe in Jesus as our King, our Lord, and our Savior. I feel compelled to take this opportunity to speak a word for Him as I urge us not to let the political leaders or the crisis of the day, take our eyes off of the only one who can see us through.

Luke 19 tells the story of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus as He made His way to the Mount of Olives. The people who has witnessed His works began to shout out their praises but some of the Pharisees told Jesus to tell His disciples to be quiet.

I pray that in the midst of challenging times, when some would say to the saints who are serving God with gladness, “why are you doing that, why are you joining rallies, why do you give so much, what are you so joyful about, it doesn’t take all that” someone will have a flashback, remember what God has already done and that God still has all power in His hands. He wants us to serve Him in spirit and in truth. God wants us to demonstrate love, grace and mercy to others, as he has shown us. God wants us to be His witnesses!

My faith journey makes it hard to be silent when things are going wrong around me, but today I recommit to using my voice to help break the silence about racism and injustice.

I refuse to let the rocks to cry out in my place.