Race relations and church

Racism and revival

Author
Jeffrey Charles Porte
Abstract
In this project I intend to lead the reader into considering the link between racism and revival. If seeking revival for our communities is our highest aim, then fostering racism is one of Satan's main strategies to frustrate our desires and efforts.

I begin this work with an autobiographical first chapter. My guess is that most readers have their own story of racial prejudices in their childhood. How God transformed and redeemed these prejudices is the heart of this chapter.

In chapter two I attempt to outline the biblical conviction that the universe is the playing field of the "powers" both good and evil. I encourage the reader to take very seriously these unseen forces which influence people and institutions.

Chapter three is a historical analysis of the Fulton Street Revival of 1857. I chose to write on this revival because it began in a Reformed Church in New York City.

The fourth chapter is an overview of the historical roots of racism, and my effort to identify racism as a significant spiritual stronghold. In chapter five I invite the reader to consider the history of Kalamazoo from a spiritual power perspective.

The last chapter is where I apply the learnings of the previous chapters to my interest in Kalamazoo. My earnest prayer is that if any of the ideas presented in this closing chapter are of God, that the Kalamazoo City pastors and intercessors would put these initiatives into practice.

A tale of two cities divided : in search of radical reconciliation

Author
Dan J Smith
Abstract
In my thesis I begin by exploring the histories of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph. These histories show the development of the cities and how their histories have played a big part in shaping how things are today. After probing the history of the area I take a theological and exegetical look at the idea of reconciliation, as engaged in the Bible and the work of practitioners and scholars. The thesis then focuses on interviews I conducted, using the research method of Narrative Inquiry, with people that live in the communities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, and, more specifically, people from Union Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church and Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ. Using these two congregations as a baseline for study, I interviewed a cross-section of both churches. The Narrative Inquiry approach helped me to identify similarities that existed between the two congregations. After the interviews were concluded they were analyzed and then presented to the participants from the two congregations for review. As I engaged the participants in this time of reflection I explored how future conversations or collaboration in the area of reconciliation might be beneficial to all parties concerned. I believe relationships were established through this project and that this was a measurable response in my thesis. By this measure, my project was very successful. Before this project I had little to no contact with my neighbors. Now I have a place to start and build upon as I look to the future of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor with a great deal of hope and passion. My final chapter is a retelling of the story of the tensions between the two cities in light of what I learned throughout the project and an anticipation of what steps we might take towards reconciliation.

Revival without revolution : the story of how a white, agricultural church became a multi-racial, multi-generational body of Christ

Author
Matt Waterstone
Abstract


Nestled along the Little Calumet River, 20 miles south of the city of Chicago, lies the 165 year old First Reformed Church in the historically Dutch village of South Holland, IL. With a rich and proud history as a flagship congregation in the Reformed Church in America, “First Church” has experienced a quarter of a century decline in membership, an exodus of younger families to more affluent areas in the Southwestern Suburbs of Illinois and into Northwest Indiana, and a lull in congregational morale amidst a rapidly diverse community that now is nearly 70% African American. Dynamics of sharp change experienced in racial migration resulting in a changing community, the legacy of past, consistorial leadership and in corporate worship haven given voice to charter a course for a future season of ministry.

As a result of racial migration, conflict in worship and a growing sense of congregational despair, First Church was forced to confront their ecclesial mortality in their given context for ministry. Together, they entered into a corporate journey of transformation that changed their congregational composition and renewed their congregational structures and practices which have led to a more robust sense of their identity as God’s diverse people and their purpose in God’s kingdom. This is a story of revival without revolution and a story of how a white, agricultural congregation became a multi-racial, multi-generational body of Christ.

Reframing our narratives : using the "Curse of Ham" and the arts to reframe the narrative of inferiority and otherness for African Americans

Author
Freda L. Briggman
Abstract
"The misinterpretation of what became known as the "Curse of Ham" played a formidable role in creating a narrative of inferiority and otherness for African Americans. For centuries, African Americans have been reframing that narrative. This project assists those reframing efforts in demonstrating how the arts can expose the racist usage of the "Curse of Ham." The researcher performs a theological and historical review of the "Curse of Ham" and then uses the data to create and implement a live theater performance. The results suggest that the performance provides a perspective not otherwise known and empowers the community to reframe the narrative." -- Leaf [2].

Cross-racial and cross-cultural ministry in the Latino context : learning to listen to our stories : intercultural competency 101 for Latino communities

Author
Arroyo Giovanni
Abstract
"This project argues that Latino ministries in the United States are built on a cross-racial and cross-cultural DNA because of the cultural complexities and ethnic realities present in the Latino population. The author suggests a Wesleyan ecclesiology (orthodoxy, orthopraxis, and orthopathy) and an intercultural competence framework for the design of an introductory curriculum for pastors and lay leaders. The data obtain through survey, face-to-face consultation and pilot testing has resulted in the creation of a intercultural competency 101 curriculum that provides specific skills in a cross-racial and cross-cultural ministry in the Latino context. The author affirms the curriculum provides a way of preparing leaders to flourish in the multicultural, multinational, and multiethnic reality of Latino ministries." -- Leaf [2].

Outsiders on the Inside: Racial Fatigue and Resilience among Black Pastors in the Presbyterian Church in America

Author
William E. Boyce
Abstract
This project assesses the state of racial fatigue among Black pastors in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), triangulating phenomenology, Scripture, and theology to evaluate the PCA’s faithfulness to its stated aims regarding doctrine and race. An analysis of the denomination’s central tenets shows a theological mandate to welcome minority pastors. But the lived experiences of many Black pastors tells a different story. Though initially welcomed, these pastors sense that they are still “outsiders,” leading them to develop strategies to help them thrive and develop resilience in the face of a challenging racial ministry context.
his project assesses the state of racial fatigue among Black pastors in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), triangulating phenomenology, Scripture, and theology to evaluate the PCA’s faithfulness to its stated aims regarding doctrine and race.


Discerning Best Practices for Multiethnic Church of Christ Mergers

Author
Jordan T. Tatum D.Min.
Abstract
This project was aimed at discovering best practices for multiethnic Church of Christ mergers. Three churches were discovered that had formed by the merger of a White Church of Christ with a Black Church of Christ. A study of the multiethnic dynamics of the early church provided the biblical and theological foundation for this project. Special attention was given to Galatians, Romans, and Ephesians, as well as the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15. The researcher discovered that the Church was multiethnic from its inception. The researcher then researched the literature concerning multiethnic churches in America, Churches of Christ, and church mergers. These three streams of literature converged in this project and based on the literature the researcher created the research instruments for this project. The researcher then traveled to the three congregations. Questionnaires were distributed at the end of Bible class times. The researcher also took field observations at these locations. Phone calls were set up to interview key leaders after these trips. The data was then coded and analyzed for trends. The following key findings for best practices in multiethnic Church of Christ mergers were discovered. Churches should pursue unity with other churches. Mergers take time and leaders must be patient. Putting together the right steering team is vital. In most mergers, only one of the two ministers will last more than five years. The eldership should reflect the diversity of the church.

HOLY LISTENING: CREATING NEW PRACTICES OF MISSION BY EXTENDING PASTORAL CARE BEYOND THE WALLS OF THE CHURCH

Author
Caitlin Thomas Deyerle D.Min.
Abstract
With a goal of developing a new practice of mission to address the disconnect between a congregation and its surrounding community and engage the historical and ongoing limitations of mission practices, this project sought to engage the skills of pastoral care to create a relational focused practice of holy listening. A five-week Lenten Listening program was developed to cultivate this practice and use it to create a deeper partnership with local educators. The evaluation methods used were a survey of the congregational participants before and after the program, and in-person interviews with the educators following the program. The project addresses racial and socioeconomic differences between church and community as a primary barrier to mission partnership.

The Legacy of Hope - Moving Beyond Boundaries

Author
Temaki Carr D.Min.
Abstract
The Legacy of Hope stares into the future, a future that seems riddled with change and transition, and ponders how best to serve a transforming community. Mt. Hope Baptist Church is a historically African American church nestled in a moderately rural Virginia community, which is in the midst of an enormous population, socioeconomic, and demographic transition. How will this community transition impact Mt. Hope? The purpose of the research was to determine what effect, if any, a relational meeting campaign and two multicultural, multiracial Christian education classes would have on incorporating multicultural, nonblack attendees into the life of Mt. Hope Baptist Church. The research determined that the threshold to incorporate multicultural, nonblack attendees into the life of Mt. Hope Baptist church has been traversed. The formal and informal relational meeting campaign with key leaders and nonblack worship attendees as well as two Christian education classes influenced the five measurement protocols towards a propensity of acceptance to multicultural ministry.

Baptismal Covenant and Antiracist Identity: A Phenomenological Study of Christian Antiracist Formation

Author
John Matthew Weiler D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore the role of confession, repentance, and baptismal identity within the antiracist identity of four white Christians to further the work of antiracist transformation and organizing in the local church. The primary methodology for this work was exploratory, utilizing phenomenological, semi-structured, in-depth interviewing with a sample of four, white Christians at Eastern United Methodist Church in Michigan. The thesis was that baptismal identity, and the Christian practices of confession and repentance in the work of antiracism liberates white Christians to joyfully make space for all people to experience the liberating love of God.
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