Whites Confronting Racism Workshops

Program Summary:

The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference is committed to dismantling racism.  An intensive program to train 18 white (European American), clergy leaders to enhance the anti-racism work in the EPC is proposed.  Program organizers will recruit highly committed clergy who are willing to be part of this leadership group. Participants must commit to the ongoing work of seeking racial justice in all aspects of their lives and to influencing others to do the same.  Persons from all clergy categories are invited to apply. Clergy with 20 or more years of service remaining are encouraged to apply.

The Workshop Series

Whites Confronting Racism (WCR) Workshops are specifically for white people who want to understand the dynamics of racism in our society and within themselves.  In a supportive, compassionate, nonjudgmental environment, participants will learn skills in recognizing racism and white privilege and its effects, skills to effectively intervene, and personal reflection tools to increase self-awareness about how learned racial programming operates.

Why a workshop for White People?

After working many years in diverse groups and in racial justice work, the workshop facilitators continually heard people of color voice a common message: “White people need to do their own work. I’m tired of teaching them about racism.”  In parallel, they heard from white people, things like: “I’m confused. I’m not a racist. What am I doing wrong? I don’t know what to do about racism,” etc.

Whites Confronting Racism is a response to the need for a safe place for white people to do the work specific to them around racism and take on greater responsibility for their own learning.  The success of anti-racism work increases in groups when white people take time to do their own work – whether in parallel to cross-race work or before it. The work helps lift the “veil” of white privilege, without putting the burden of education on people of color.

This is not meant to be the only means of learning skills in racial justice work; rather it Is meant to accelerate and complement it.

Format

The entire program will consist of three progressive three-day, all-day sessions over the course of the year 2019. Meals, snacks and holy hospitality will be available at all sessions.  Participants must attend all sessions.

In addition, participants will complete readings and assignments between each workshop, and will also be part of a triad support group.  This support group will meet at least once a month. If the group decides to meet more frequently, that is their option. Also, there will be periodic evening sessions (2 hours) between workshops.

Expectations

Participants must be open to confronting and working on their own inner dynamics of racism, white privilege, as well as the societal and institutional forms of racism. Participants must also be committed to activating their anti-racist influence within the church and in society

It will be essential that participants can prioritize the time commitment required for the workshops.  This is not only important for personal and group learning, but it enables building cohesion and trust in the group.  Further, it is important to our overall goal to create a committed cohort who can learn and work for racial justice and serve as a support network for each other over time.  

The registration fee for each participant is $650.  Participants must make a personal financial commitment.  The recommended amount for that personal contribution is $100.  The additional amount of $550 may be raised from one or more of the following sources: personal funds, local church continuing educations funds, Board of Ordained Ministry continuing education funds, etc.  

Dates and Times

  • Session 1 – March 12, 13, 14
  • Session 2 – July 9, 10, 11
  • Session 3 – September 24, 25, 26

Each session will begin at 10:00 am and end at 4:30 pm.  

The meeting site will be at a central location within the bounds of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church.  For those who prefer not to commute, housing will be arranged at a very modest rate. The cost of housing will be split between the project and those participants requesting housing.

Facilitators

Lorraine Marino and Sarah Halley: Both are seasoned and highly skilled trainers who specialize in resisting racism work and have experience working with faith communities committed to anti-racism work.

Application Deadline and Notification of Participation

Completed applications are due on or before January 15, 2019.  All applicants will be informed of the Discernment Team’s decision on February 12, 2018.