Mission: to Amplify Compassion by amplifying marginalized voices in our community, including those marginalized by their race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, or any others searching for equity. We will help challenge our congregation to amplify justice, mercy, and humility to create a more compassionate church.
Reflection – Robin Barefoot

I am proud and inspired by the Amplify ministry at Dilworth UMC, and not simply because I’m Pastor Cade’s mom. No, I recognize the depth of compassion and strength of leadership required to pull this off and it is amply evident in Pastor Michelle and Dilworth’s lay leaders. I’ve witnessed firsthand the vulnerability and courage of Dilworth members who read the books, open themselves to learning and unlearning, and show up in conversations that bare their souls to each other, and guests like me.

When I recently read Cade’s admission of complicity with culture that prioritizes and privileges white ways of being in the world, I saw a chance to throw off a few dirty rags of my own participation in America’s original sin. And after joining congregation members this week to visit the Harvey G. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, I was prompted to think about WHY viewing and discussing the art of Black artists is important for me as an American Christian. It is truly all about learning and unlearning. Because the biggest lie is to think we know it all, that we are finished products, that we “just are” the way we are, that we have arrived. That mindset is death, exactly what Jesus came to defeat.

So here are a few notable ups and downs of my racial reckoning:

In sixth grade (1970) I was the first girl who slow danced with Byron at our graduation parties. Byron was the only Black student in our elementary school. We danced to Here Comes the Sun, and it remains a precious melody to this day.

When I was first practicing law (1987), I spoke disparagingly in front of my father, himself the child of Italian immigrants, about the Asian-Indian professionals whose work visas I had been assigned to prepare and submit. I know I disappointed him deeply.

In 2011, I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with two Duke Divinity interns to advocate for and walk alongside a young Haitian man neglected and forsaken by our church and its pastor. I glimpsed the nearness of death – for the body of the Black man and for the souls of congregation members raised to believe they are white.

Three years ago, I blundered in the most typical white way by reaching for the beautiful, spiral curls of a Black colleague asking, “May I touch your hair.” The sharpness of her tone as she raised her index finger and said, “Don’t touch my hair” is something I will never forget.

Thank you, Dilworth, and thank you, Cade, for the welcome I’ve found to join your communal journey towards knowing ourselves and others the way Christ would have us know – through the lens of LOVE in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Suggested Resources
Share – Are you interested in sharing a reflection in the Amplify newsletter? If you feel called to share a story, testimony, or devotion related to diversity, inclusion, and reconciliation, please reach out to Pastor Cade ([email protected]). The Amplify Team is open to all members who feel passionate about shaping our conversation and working for justice in and through Dilworth UMC. Please contact Pastor Cade to become a part of this important ministry.
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