About four or five years ago, J.C. was serving as Vice President for Christian Leadership Formation at Auburn Seminary, a Presbyterian-affiliated institution that is more like an advanced faith leadership institute than a traditional seminary.
“After the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Ferguson protests,” he says, “I kept finding myself in conversations with white pastors and congregations who were saying, ‘I feel like we need to do something, but I don’t know enough to even know what that means, and I’m afraid of saying or doing something wrong if I try to engage.’”
So he developed a course that could be taught at conferences, in congregations, and with clergy groups that was geared to those very people. “’Faith in Living Color’ is designed for anyone, but white people in particular,” he says, “who want to understand the basics of why race and racism are such important and such difficult topics for white people to engage. It is specifically designed
not to be ‘here’s why you should feel bad about being white,’ but rather to look at these issues from pastoral and sociological and theological standpoints.
"By the end of the second session, most of the comments I receive are along the lines of, ‘I never really understood this before. Now what do I do?’ Which is why the last segment of the course is on precisely that issue: here’s what you can do to keep deepening your understanding and start taking real action.”
Over the next three weeks, J.C. is going to offer “Faith in Living Color” via Zoom for First Presbyterian members and friends as one of the first ways that we as a congregation are responding to the national debate about systemic racial injustice.
While you don’t have to be in every class to participate, you are strongly encouraged to attend all three as they do build on each other. We hope that you will make a special effort to be part of the course.