Saturday, May 31, 2008

Conversation on Race, continued

We began our "Conversation on Race" on Sunday, May 18, with three speakers who shared their perspectives, prompting a challenging discussion among the 80+ participants. Stories were shared about how we have been affected in the past and how today's environment is still an unhealthy and divisive one.

Tomorrow, June 1, we will continue the "conversation" with Dorothy Thompson and Terence Morrison as our guest panelists. In preparation, let's consider two questions we might discuss: Is affirmative action still the right course? And, what policies and programs should we implement (or get rid of) to address the economic disparity faced by minorities in our community?

Come and voice your own thoughts and challenge others and yourself to really look hard at what society does and what part we all play in it, good and bad.

Cy King eloquently described last Sunday at Worship the chronology of Community UCC 's efforts to end racial discrimination, all the way back to April, 1936. The chronology can be found here .

This is a journey, not a destination. Let's make these "Conversations" real ones...ones that are tough, thorough and healing.

Cynthia Ball

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Yoga at CUCC

When: Sundays, 4:00 - 5:00 pm, Vaughan Fellowship Hall for six weeks
First class: May 25

Who: Adults and older youth. Gentle and suitable for beginners; experienced yogis and yoginis welcome

Wear: comfortable clothes and slip-off shoes
Bring: any props you may have such as blankets and straps (old neckties make great straps)
Don't need to bring: Mats and blocks

Teacher: Ellen Beidler. Ellen recently received her 230-hour yoga teacher certification through Yoga-Body, Mind, and Spirit.
Sponsor: CUCC's Arts in Worship Committee
Charge: none

Yoga offers more than physical exercise; it allows practitioners a way to explore their spiritual path. Best of all, it is fun!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Talking About Race

With regard to the upcoming "Conversation on Race" ...

In the 1990s there was a custom at CUCC of having a sermon on "race" the week of the MLK holiday in January. Sometimes I found myself sitting in the pew thinking, "What the preacher is calling racism isn't racism, and what's being proposed as a solution isn't a solution." I do have some experience with racism, having twice been jailed for being in the wrong place with someone of the wrong color. But the term is used much more broadly now, and for many different purposes.

Currently race is lurking just around the corner in nearly every conversation about the Presidential election process. Both Geraldine Ferraro and Bill Clinton have been accused of "racist" comments. And every exit poll seems to be asking voters, "Was your vote influenced by race?"

The goal of MLK was to get past race altogether, not to institutionalize it via a morass of agencies and regulations to service the "victims" of racism. We liberals have been very good at the latter, but not so hot at the former. Barack Obama began his quest for the Presidency with every intent to avoid racial identity politics. But Bill Clinton's remark comparing Obama's candidacy to the token candidacy of Jesse Jackson began the process of negating that effort. I don't consider Clinton's remark to be racist, just dumb. But it did demonstrate that even within the Democratic Party Obama would not get to choose his own seat at the table. He was pigeon holed against his will. And that, followed by publicity about the various Rev. Wright shenanigans, began the white backlash that has led to Obama's current problem with the "white, working class" vote.

Before we throw stones at the TV sound bytes and "uneducated" WVA voters, we'd do well to look in the mirror. Obama did well with the white vote early in the primary process. (He actually won the white male vote in Virginia back in February.) The torpedoes that have been sinking his ship since then were launched not from afar but within his own party and his own church. So, at least in terms of Presidential politics, we might want to use the word "racism" sparingly. And with a little humility.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Conversation on Race

The national office of the United Church of Christ has called for UCC congregations to engage in a conversation on race. You are invited to be part of Community UCC's on-going engagement through these next steps:

May 18 The Forum (9:15 to 10:15am) presents a participatory "Conversation about Race." Panel speakers who have committed to come are Brad Thompson, Former Raleigh City Councilman, and Daniel Coleman, Chairman of the RWCA, two longtime community leaders. And we anticipate that several other leaders from the African American community will also join us.
Also in preparation, several readings are recommended. One for your reference: Principles and Assumptions Underlying a Conversation on Race (Perkins/Otto) which you can also link to on the website.

May 24 The Rev. Robert Parrish will present a sermon to spark our thinking.

May 29 & 30 The Rev. Steve Halsted is attending the clergy conference at Franklinton Center at Bricks. Conference leadership will be provided by Conversation Leaders: Rev. Henry Simmons and Rev. Steven Sterner; Listener: Rev. Linda Jaramillio from Justice and Witness; Worship Leader: Rev. Steve Camp and Facilitator: Rev. Ervin Milton. When Steve returns, ask him about this exciting opportunity.

For more on A Conversation on Race:
"On Sunday, May 18, many pastors across the UCC will be preaching on race in hopes of beginning a sacred conversation, a dialogue that is needed in our pews, our homes and the hallways of power across our country. After May 18, congregations are encouraged to develop a months-long process in order to set aside the necessary time and attention needed to structure a sacred conversation about race.The UCC is holding this national dialogue in order to foster a spirit of healing and unity in our churches and communities. While much has been said during the past few weeks about the Rev. Jeremiah A Wright Jr., this dialogue among our members is intended to be a larger conversation, one not focused directly or exclusively on the recent controversy, but one certainly influenced by it."You can read more at

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Check Request Now Online

Need to submit a check request to reimburse you for a CUCC expense? You can now find the document online. Go to . Page 1 is the form you print, fill out, and return to CUCC with your receipts. Page 2 gives the line item #'s from our budget to help you fill out the form; you don't need to print this.

Let Jane know if you have any trouble using the form. This is a new effort to help you in your work at CUCC.