Nov 11, 2021

EPAUMC’s Dismantling Racism overall efforts are progressing on conference and congregational levels. Reflective of the denomination’s larger emphasis, our conference continues to sponsor training events, book studies, webinars and dialogues. And it will soon add a new and improved Dismantling Racism multimedia resources page to its website later this month.

Meanwhile, local churches are likewise sponsoring race and racism-related book studies and dialogues, along with some cross-racial outreach and mission efforts. Leaders of several churches will resource the Dismantling Racism Level II workshop this Saturday, Nov. 13, titled “Courageous Conversations on Race and Reconciliation: Getting Started,” from 9 AM to 12 PM, via Zoom.

The most recent Dismantling Racism (DR) I basic training—required of all pastors, certified lay ministers and conference staff—happened Oct. 29-31 on Zoom. Two DR II trainings are offered annually, and one is required of pastors in each quadrennium. Past trainings focused on various racial-ethnic groups in our society—their histories, cultures and racial challenges—and on avoiding and responding to racial micro-aggressions.

The next DR II session Saturday will convene church leaders experienced in planning and conducting racial dialogues to share their learnings and best practices with other interested churches. Presenters will include:

  • John and Lisa Chapman from First UMC of Germantown, in Philadelphia;
  • the Rev. John Bletsch, pastor of St Matthew’s UMC of Valley Forge;
  • the Rev. Andrea Brown, pastor of Grandview Church
  • the Rev. Francie Preston (retired) of Arch Street UMC
  • the Rev. David Tatgenhorst, pastor of St Luke’s UMC in Bryn Mawr

The clergy presenters are also members of the Whites Confronting Racism Cohort II, who all received intensive anti-racism training together in 2019 and are committed to sharing their learnings with others throughout the conference. EPAUMC’s Healing the Wounds of Racism Core Team (HWR), led by the Rev, David Brown, a retired elder, and Mert Shane, sponsor DR training events.

Brown and Shane say this training will help church leaders to get started on planning and implementing racial dialogues and experiences, preferably with interracial participation. Many conferences, churches and organizations around the nation have held such gatherings in recent years—especially since the troubling increase in murders of black people and also Black Lives Matter protest actions over the past several years.

The DR II training may be recorded for future viewing and use. And presenters may offer ongoing help to participants who request it to facilitate their efforts to get started. Learn more

Look for future articles about other Dismantling Racism initiatives involving HWR, the Commission on Religion & Race and other groups and churches.