As 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.