On July 8th CBOQ hosted two online conversations called CBOQ Conversation on Race and Diversity. These were an opportunity to hear CBOQ pastors share their experiences of racism and racial injustice. As our pastors powerfully told their stories, participants were inspired and encouraged to pursue racial equality and justice and learn more about racism in Canada. Pastors shared their experience of how their perceived race has meant that they were overlooked for leadership positions. It was a blessing to have 99 people to participate in the morning and evening sessions.
Here are a few quotes from the stories:
“As a black person, I must go by my second nature. I can’t go by my first nature like everyone else. (Everything we are going to do or say as black persons when we are not home, we must do or say a certain way for our protection. We must think twice before doing and be spontaneous.)”
“In Canada, there is polite racism, often through implicit messages. For example, who is in the highest levels of leadership in such places as CBOQ and seminaries? Who teaches at seminaries? A lack of diversity in the leadership says a lot about the culture of the organization, and who they believe is fit to lead.”
“The church is called to be a reconciling agent. Thank God we are still working through what it means to be the church.”
“Paraphrasing the man who sought Jesus for healing: ‘I believe, help my unbelief.’ I’m not a racist, help my racism.”
“Every facet of life is affected by racism. Some of the worst hurts happen in church. We hope so much from church, but…”
Story-Telling in your CBOQ Church
Every church’s conversation will look different. However, if you can begin to identify congregation members who are under-represented and among the non-majority in your congregation, you can invite them to share their stories and experiences.
Questions to Consider:
- How has your experience been worshiping at this church?
- Have you felt hospitality here? What can be done to make this church a more loving and welcoming church to all cultures and peoples?
- How do we enter this anti-racism dialogue?
If you have any questions or would like to dialogue about what a conversation could look like, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Paul Lam, Church Life and Leadership Associate.
Ibram X. Kendi. How to be Anti-Racist
Willie James Jennings. The Christian Imagination: Theology and The Origins of Race.
Austin Channing Brown. Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness.
The Hate You Give – it’s about a black teenager that grows up between the white and black culture.
I am Not Your Negro – A powerful documentary based on the writing of essayist and writer, James Baldwin, during the Civil Rights Movement.