No matter how one looks at the events surrounding the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a nation is talking about the lingering racism that still haunts and hurts everyone.
Seventeen Disciples from all four Areas met with Disciples Reconciliation Minister April Johnson at Rock Bridge Christian Church in Columbia, MO in a Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism (PRAR) summit on September 6th.
“This is a moment!” said April Johnson, reminding those gathered to meet the anger, confusion and violence surrounding the uprising with courage and truth. “ . . . If we want to improve life for our children we need to act now.”
New ideas emerged about how to help Disciples take up more fruitful conversation, soul-searching and work included; training more facilitators to offer workshops around the region, better communication about the availability of Reconciliation project grants for congregational initiatives, using multi-media and social media more effectively.
Co-Chairs Phil Smith (Hannibal) and Margie Pride (St. Louis) gladly welcome inquiries and requests for PRAR training. They will host an after-session, Friday evening at Regional Assembly for those who would like to process their experiences following Ferguson and to discuss ways to engage more Disciples in local PRAR work.
The Reconciliation Offering, received in congregations September 28th and October 5th, is split 50/50 with regions and Reconciliation Ministries to fund grants to congregational initiatives that cut at the roots of racism and effectively promote reconciliation. A special two-minute video suitable for use in worship about the Reconciliation offering is available at the bottom of the Reconciliation Special Day Offering webpage. Mid-America congregations can learn more about Reconciliation grants and apply at any time for start-up grants by downloading a brochure and application form.
The next Mid-America PRAR Summit is scheduled for March 14, 2015, 10:30 am – 3:30 pm. Location will be announced. All Mid-America Disciples are invited to participate.