Race relations and church

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.

The Unity Process and Its Effectiveness In Decreasing Cross-Cultural Divisions In Society Due to Racism

Author
Pamela Y Fields D.Min.
Abstract
This case study dealt with determining the usefulness of The Unity Process as a tool in combatting the racial divisions in the Dallas area. Research tools included pre- and post-surveys and interviews. The results were compared with The Unity Process. The three major findings from the research are the reality of the systemic nature of racism became apparent as well as the lived realities of minorities. From this awareness and understanding, participants became able to engage with others from different races and cultures. Finally, participants felt more competent and willing to engage and be an active advocate for minorities in America.

CONGREGATIONAL DIVERSITY AS A SPIRITUAL STRENGTH: RECOGNIZING OUR COMMON IDENTITY IN CHRIST IN THE BIBLICAL METANARRATIVE

Author
David Kosobucki D.Min.
Abstract
The purpose of this research is to gauge the appreciation for diversity in the congregation of Horizon Christian Fellowship Central as a spiritual strength, based upon a common identity in Christ as expressed through the biblical metanarrative. The church in question is based near downtown Indianapolis. It is diverse from the standpoint of ethnicity or race as well as socioeconomically, meaning a full spectrum of class, income and educational levels are represented. It is also multigenerational, displaying an age range from high school students that come from the neighborhood without their parents to the elderly. Nonetheless, there are under 100 adults that attend on a typical Sunday, meaning this variety of people interacts on a constant basis.

The author delivered a fourteen-part series of teachings that went through the Bible from beginning to end. Seven messages came from the Old Testament and seven more from the New. These messages explored the themes of unity, diversity and our identity in Christ. The author concurrently led three rounds of focus groups consisting of three groups each, which met in homes to discuss the above themes as they appear throughout the Bible. Groups met before, during and after the teaching series.

In the focus groups, the church displayed an appreciation for the theme of diversity as it appears in the Bible. They seemed reluctant to speak in terms of the biblical metanarrative, though they saw the metanarrative as the foundation for their identity in Christ. They accepted this as their primary personal identity and something they shared with one another. Further, this congregation valued its own diversity, believing that it equipped them to relate and reach out to a greater variety of people. These views were reinforced rather than initiated by the teaching series, meaning people already held the views.

Making Room: Conversations About Race and Faith Between Members of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC and St. John's Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC

Author
Martha Dixon Kearse
Abstract
In this project, the candidate recorded personal stories from members of two different Baptist congregations: Friendship Missionary Baptist Church (a church made up predominantly of members identifying as African-American) and St. John’s Baptist Church (a church made up predominantly of members identifying as Caucasian). Using those recordings, the candidate created a podcast called “Making Room,” and invited participating group members to listen to each other’s stories. In addition, the candidate invited these same group members to participate in conversations about issues of race, especially as they present themselves in Charlotte, NC. The candidate and group members challenged themselves with the biblical ethic of hospitality and explored conversations about how each individual might help to improve relationships between African-Americans and Caucasian Americans using that Christian ethic.

Bridging the Latino--Anglo gap: A transition towards a cross-cultural church at First Baptist Church, Robbins, North Carolina

Author
Ernesto Robledo
Abstract
In its 2,000 years of existence, the church has remained mostly segregated in regards to the inclusion of other cultures within one setting. Christians from various traditions have spent centuries trying to be more like Jesus as they worshiped in many different settings. Even though the church has been active for so long, the reality is that she has been predominantly white. Through an intentional pastoral project, twenty-four individuals participated in a four-week bilingual Bible study and a community-wide missionary event. These purposeful interactions proved that the church can change her traditional ministry pattern by engaging members of the Latino and Anglo congregation in a cross-cultural experience at First Baptist Church of Robbins, NC.

BENEFITS OF MULTI-ETHNIC DIVERSITY FROM A MAJORITY CULTURE PERSPECTIVE AT A CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL IN VOUCHER PROGRAM: A STUDY OF WISCONSIN LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL IN MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN

Author
Kenneth Fisher D.Min.
Abstract
Entering the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), a voucher program, enabled Wisconsin Lutheran High School (WLHS) to become a multi-ethnic Christian high school, fulfilling the Great Commission's call to "make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19) while offering its students the many benefits of ethnic diversity. In order to assist in the recruitment of a balanced multi-ethnic student body, this project explores the positive benefits from the majority culture perspective of Caucasian parents whose students attended WLHS in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The project's biblical exploration centers on the Great Commission's call for ethnic inclusion, as well as the biblical issues related to maintaining a healthy, multi-ethnic diversity in a high school. The review of contemporary literature explores the problem of school segregation; the demonstrable benefits of multi-ethnic schools for white students; the role parental perceptions play in school selection; and the special way a multi-ethnic Christian school can deal with racism and segregation as spiritual problems.

Key findings of the project included: white parents are more likely to listen to other white parents than objective data; diversity is more often a reason to reject a school than a factor in selecting a school; parents' positive perceptions of safety and academic rigor are vital; and parents' understanding of diversity's benefits grow as they reflect more deeply upon them.
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