Just Launched: Three New Classes In Our Free Lenten Curriculum on Building Racial Justice

We have just launched the three remaining classes in our free Lenten curriculum on building racial justice. We hope that you learn a lot about combating racial inequities and building racial justice from these three classes: Reparation and Racial Justice with Jennifer Harvey For Individuals and For Groups, Theology and Racial Justice with J. Kameron Carter For Individuals and For Groups, and Racism and Racial Justice with Eduardo Bonilla-Silva For Individuals and For Groups.

These classes are free throughout Lent of 2016 thanks to the generosity of Trinity Institute, on whose January Conference “Listen for a Change: Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice” these classes are based.

In Reparation and Racial Justice, Jennifer Harvey, an author and lecturer and a religion professor at Drake University, develops an argument that the reconciliation between races for which the American Church has been striving since the late 1970s has not worked. Instead, she argues that reconciliation be adapted as a long term goal and that repentance and reparation be adopted as the white church’s more immediate strategy to work toward that end. For a preview of Dr. Harvey’s class, please click here.

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In Theology and Racial Justice, J. Kameron Carter, a professor of religion at Duke University’s Divinity School, discusses the origins of race, which resulted from Europe’s first forays into the New World and into sub-Saharan Africa. He develops the argument that these first encounters with Africans and with Native Americans were tightly wrapped up in Christian theological thinking and that as the white church developed in North America, the white church remained closely involved with the expropriation and exclusion of people of color. In response, he argues, the black church in America developed an extraordinarily inclusive and ecumenical approach to Christianity. For a preview of Dr. Carter’s class, please click here.

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In Racism and Racial Justice, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a professor of sociology at Duke University, examines a new kind of racism in America, one which has developed since the end of the Civil Rights Movement. As opposed to the periods of legal and overt racial aggression that characterized previous periods of racism in the United States, he argues, today’s “colorblind” racism, while equally present, is less overt and in some ways harder to combat. It is based in speech, opinions, and systems that have surface legitimacy, and it corrupts more silently — but no less powerfully — than racism of previous eras. For a preview of Dr. Bonilla-Silva’s class, please click here.

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We hope that these classes support you and your congregation in experiencing a holy Lent. We hope, furthermore, that these instructors’ ideas help to move all of us, with God’s help, to do what sometimes seems impossible: build a more racially just world.

Online Stations of the Cross Resources

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On Sunday, we launched Praying the Stations of the Cross with Kathrin Burleson For Individuals and For Groups. In this class, Kathrin takes students through the fourteen watercolors of her Stations of the Cross, offering commentary and meditation on each scene.

Experiencing the Stations of the Cross service using online tools, through the eyes of a contemporary artist is an extraordinary way to participate in this centuries-old ritual. We wish to offer other online Stations of the Cross resources to those who are interested in using digital technology to connect with Christians across the world and with Christians of the past through this journey with Christ.

The Catholic online magazine Busted Halo (named for all of us small “s” saints Screenshot 2016-02-04 09.53.08with our dented and dirty haloes) offers the Stations of the Cross online using the traditional Catholic stations. Each multimedia station offers dynamic images and textual prayers and meditations, with meditative music behind them. Another traditional online Stations of the Cross is The Liturgy Archive’s The Way of the Cross service, which uses images by glass artist James Caesar and textual prayers. This version uses no music and has static text and images.stations of cross children

Loyola Press offers a multimedia Stations of the Cross for children. Using music, images, and simple meditative text, it offers a child-friendly service that older children who can read can use alone and that younger children can use with their parents’ help.

People who wish to experience the Stations of the Cross as a pilgrimage through the footsteps of Jesus through Jerusalem might try a virtual pilgrimage through sites in Jerusalem that traditionally have been associated with each of the fourteen Stations of the Cross. The site brings visitors to a numbered map through Jerusalem. At each numbered station on the map, the site offers an introduction to what viewers will find there and a slide slow of the buildings and the markers that designate the site as one of the traditional locations for each station. (Be patient with the slide show; it moves slowly.) After the slide show, viewers are shown an image of the altar associated with each station and invited to pray. Each virtual prayer station includes background music and textual prayers.

We hope that you benefit from these online Stations of the Cross offerings as you prepare to experience a holy Lent. If you would like to learn more about Kathrin Burleson’s class, please enjoy this preview.

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Just Launched: Praying the Stations of the Cross with Kathrin Burleson

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We have just launched Praying the Stations of the Cross with Kathrin Burleson For Individuals and For Groups. Kathrin Burleson’s work has been exhibited in museums and Painting 1galleries across the country. Recently, she published The Soul’s Journey: An Artist’s Approach to the Stations of the Cross, in which she depicts her Stations of the Cross series: fourteen paintings of scenes from Jesus’ journey with his cross to Golgotha. The paintings may be used for formal prayer during the Stations of the Cross liturgy, or simply may be contemplated on their own.

In this class, Kathrin discusses the history of the Stations of the Cross liturgy and then takes the viewer through each painting in her series of Stations of the Cross scenes. With each painting, she discusses the scene being portrayed, considers it in the context of Jesus’ overall journey, and offers opportunities to consider how each of these momePainting 2nts could resonate in our contemporary lives. She invites us to consider how we might imitate Jesus’ choices in our own lives, and ways in which the actions of other characters in the story — Peter, Pilate, the women who weep for Jesus as he passes, the women who wait for him outside the tomb — might inform our own actions and decisions.

Kathrin’s class could be used productively in a Stations of the Cross liturgy, in prayer groups, especially during Lent, and for personal contemplation. We hope that you find this class moving and that you can use it to support your Lenten activities. For more information about the class, please enjoy this preview.

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ChurchNext Lenten Resources

Lenten Resources

We have written a lot lately about our free five-course 2016 Lenten series on building racial justice, produced in partnership with Trinity Institute. On Sunday, we launched the second class in this series, Whiteness and Racial Justice with Kelly Brown Douglas For Individuals and For Groups. Last week, we offered suggestions for five ways that congregations can use this series to enrich their Lenten programs.

ChurchNext offers many Lenten resources in addition to this series that you can use with your congregation or on your own to support and enhance a holy Lenten experience. For an introduction to Lent, which might be especially useful for church newcomers, try Introducing Lent with Maggie Dawn. Families and educators who support family ministries will find Lent for Families with Kim Baker extremely helpful. Many churches use the Stations of the Cross service during Lent, so you might consider our class, Stations of the Cross with Kathrin Burleson (to be launched this Sunday).

People who wish to implement Lenten disciplines related to daily spirituality might find Everyday Spiritual Practices with Keith Anderson helpful. People who wish to implement spiritual practices into busy schedules during Lent might consider taking How to Pray Online with Karekin Yarian, which suggests some terrific online prayer and meditation resources and discusses their usefulness in our on-the-go culture. People who wish to experiment with new approaches to prayer during Lent might consider Praying with Icons with Randall Warren or Praying with the Saints with Scott Gunn and Tim Schenck (which is also popular with fans of Lent Madness.)

We hope that you will find these suggestions for supporting your Lenten experiences helpful. We also suggest that you browse the catalog; you are likely to find classes there that will fulfill needs specific to your congregation or your individual needs.

Just Launched: Whiteness and Racial Justice with Kelly Brown Douglas

Kelly Brown Douglas

Today, we launched Whiteness and Racial Justice with Kelly Brown Douglas For Individuals and For Groups. This is the second course in our five-course Lenten series created in partnership with Trinity Institute. The courses in this series are free throughout Lent of 2016. The first course, Spirituality and Racial Justice with Michael Curry, launched last week. The other three classes in this series will be launched on February 7.

In this course, the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas examines whiteness as a social construction. What does it mean to be white now, and what did it mean historically? What privileges are associated with whiteness in the U.S., and how did those privileges come to be attached to white people? For Christians, particular questions about whiteness emerge: how did Christians come to embrace privileging white people over people of other races, and what does the Bible have to say about situations like the racially unjust one that persists today in America? Dr. Brown Douglas discusses these questions and many others over the four classes that make up this course.

Dr. Brown Douglas calls this time in our history a kairos time: a time when God moves through the world creating disruption and opportunity for change. We can choose to embrace this opportunity and build a more just world, or we can relax back into business as usual. We encourage you to take this course and others in this series. Use this opportunity in history to build a better world — a world that more closely resembles the one that God wants for us.

To learn more about this course, please watch this preview.

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Five Ways to Use Our Lenten Series to Enrich Your Parish’s Lenten Ministries

Lent 2016As you may have read, ChurchNext is producing this year’s Lenten series, a free five-class curriculum on building racial justice, in partnership with Trinity Institute. We already have launched the first of the classes, Spirituality and Racial Justice with Michael Curry For Individuals and For Groups. Today, we want to suggest some ways that your congregation can use this series during Lent.

First, the basics. Trinity institute will be holding a conference, “Listen For a Change: Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice,” from January 21-23. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is the keynote speaker, and many other wise voices on building racial equality will be speaking. (By the way, many churches around the country are live streaming the conference this weekend in their parishes. See if you live near one.) ChurchNext has been fortunate enough to partner with Trinity Institute and create a series of five classes with speakers from the conference as our Lenten series for this year. (For more information on the series, click here.)

So how might you use this series of classes to support a holy Lent?

Well, really, there are dozens of ways. During this Lent in particular, serious conversations about racial disparity seem appropriate. Here are five suggestions for how this series of classes on building racial justice might enrich your church’s Lenten ministries:

  1. The series could be an excellent basis for an adult formation series during Lent. Five classes available in For Groups format to anyone who wants to learn. Six weeks of Lent. It works.
  2. Use one or two classes from the series to support other Lenten topics that you plan to explore during Lent. Bishop Curry’s class in particular could enrich any number of conversations about the effects of sin infused into the world.
  3. Encourage your church members to take the For Individuals classes on their own as part of their individual Lenten disciplines. Make sure they know that the classes are free, easy to use, and require no special programs or equipment. A user can take any class at his or her own pace, and the classes only take about 45 minutes each.
  4. Use the classes to enrich outreach ministries during Lent. Remind people why what they are doing is necessary as they engage in ministries that help build equality within the community, and use the classes to get new ideas for ways to strive for racial justice.
  5. Use the classes this Lent to help move your congregation to reach out and engage people of other races. In 2014, The Episcopal Church national membership was about 87% white. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that in the same year, only about 62% of the country considered itself to be made up of white, non-Latino people. Our church needs to do a better job of engaging people of diverse races and ethnicities. Let this series be part of the catalyst that moves your church to grow in the direction our country is growing.

For a preview of Bishop Curry’s class, please visit the link below. In the meantime, blessings as you prepare to engage a holy Lenten season.

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Encourage Substantive Conversations on Racial Equality with this Free ChurchNext Lenten Curriculum

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Trinity Institute and ChurchNext are teaming up to help you and your congregation go deeper with one of the most pressing issues of our time. Based on Trinity Institute’s 2016 conference, Listen for a Change: Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice, a complete Lenten curriculum is being offered including these presenters: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, PhD., Kelly Brown Douglas, MDiv, PhD., Jennifer Harvey, and J. Kameron Carter, PhD.

Each course is free during Lent, 2016.

We’ve just launched the first of these five courses: Spirituality and Racial Equality with Michael Curry, which is available in two formats, For Individuals and For Groups. The second course, Whiteness and Racial Equality with Kelly Brown Douglas, will launch on January 24, with the other three courses to follow on February 7. All courses will be available in two formats, For Individuals and For Groups, which include Facilitator Guides and Participant’s Guides.

Bishop Curry has made racial reconciliation one of the priorities of his ministry as Presiding Bishop.  He has said,”The choice is ours: chaos or community. That work is the work of finding ways for people to come together to really create and be what Dr. King called the ‘beloved community.’ That’s not just some Utopian ideal. That, frankly, is the difference between life and death for the world.”

Trinity Institute is an annual conference in its 45th year that equips clergy and laypersons for imaginative and catalytic leadership. Trinity Institute conferences present emerging and inclusive theological and social perspectives and engage participants in inquiry, dialogue, and reflection. Participants from all faith perspectives are welcomed. The conference is sponsored by Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal parish in New York City. This year’s conference, Listen for a Change: Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice, focuses on combating racial oppressing and building a more just world.

For more information about Presiding Bishop Curry’s class, please enjoy this preview.

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