TPPC Racial Justice and Peace Page

The front entrance of the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church with Blank Lives Matter banner TPPC has had a Peacemaking Committee that advocates for peace within our congregation, demonination and world, as well as a project to promote committed racial mindfulness in our church and community.

Currently, there is a Racial Justice Ministry which deals with ongoing issues of racism and white priviledge in our society. You are warmly invited to join in the group's discussions. The Racial Justice Ministry holds special discussions and Sunday School classes on a periodic basis. Please see the church calendar for upcoming events.

The TPPC Racial Justice Ministry is featured in an NCP Mission Highlights Video at http://www.thepresbytery.org/mission-highlights/Mission-Highlights-Videos (the video itself can be viewed at https://youtu.be/x4h_-kHNiHs).

More about our Racial Justice Ministry can be accessed here.

More about TPPC's Resolution of Committed Racial Mindfulness (PDF, May 2015) be found here.

TPPC Racial Mindfulness Fall Lecture Series

Continuing on work begun in 2014, TPPC continues to seek greater understanding of racism as it affects us on a large and small scale, through the practice of Committed Racial Mindfulness. We try to live out the proclamation of our church banner that "Black Lives Matter."

On September 21, sociologist and acclaimed author Jim Loewen spoke on "The Most Important Era in U.S. History That You Never Heard of and Why Its Important." That era was the "Nadir," between 1890 and 1940, when Southern States began to erase African Americans' rights of personhood won in the Civil War, and began erecting monuments to Confederate valor. As he pointed out, the nation is still paying a price for its failure to exercise its power to overturn the new Southern laws and erect its own monuments to the Union. Jim's talk was well-attended, including a lot of people from the general community. If you weren't able to come, or want to get into Jim's teaching in greater depth, here are some of his book titles -- Lies My Teacher Told me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The "Great Truth" about the "Lost Cause", and Sundowner Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism.

On Wednesday October 11, Dr. Susan Strasser, who previously spoke at our church on the subjects of slavery and lynching in her series "A White Historian Reads Black History", gave a talk on voting rights. Her talk offered an overview of African American voting rights, from the promise of Reconstruction, through Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement, to the issues in today's news.

Racial Justice Ministry Meeting on November 11

On Saturday November 11, the group of 30-plus people who participated in Committed Racial Mindfulness training in 2015 and 2016 will continue their discussion of how to deepen our church's understanding of and commitment to Committed Racial Mindfulness and expand the circle of church participation. Our discussion will be facilitated by our very skilled trainer, Carol Brantley.

The group is excited by the prospect that our new interim pastor, Jim Reisner, will join our conversation.

TPPC'a Racial Justice Ministry

Racism is historically and powerfully embedded in our society. It is entrenched in our institutions, systems, interactions and mentalities. Historic and ongoing racism continue to justify and perpetuate inequality.

Racism is contrary to the Will of God and the Teachings of Jesus.

Racism is subversive to Christian faith and divisive in the Church.

We are called by Jesus to promote compassion, peace and social justice, to actively witness against discrimination, suffering, pain and injustices. We believe that we can help shape a future to overcome racism.

The Guiding Principles of the Racial Justice Ministry are:

TPPC has taken a stand on racism by:

We believe the Church is called by God to be a witness to love, justice, peace and to walk humbly. We are committed to address racial injustice.

We invite you to attend our meetings and events

Resolution of Committed Racial Mindfulness

A Resolution of Committed Racial Mindfulness was adopted by our Session at its May meeting. The resolution grew out of discussions by a small group of TPPC members and friends who have been meeting to discuss how our church can respond to pervasive racism in our country. Our concerns were sparked by recent killings of African American men by law enforcement officers in Ferguson, New York, Cleveland, Baltimore, and elsewhere. These matters reflect how deeply white privilege and racial prejudice is embedded in our society and communities.

To read the resolution, access 2015-05_TPPC_Resolution_of_Committed_Racial_Mindfulness.pdf (PDF).

The resolution commits our church to undertake a program of "committed racial mindfulness" to raise our knowledge and understanding about racism and its effects, heighten our commitment and capability to oppose racism, and make us more effective messengers of conscientious racial mindfulness in our communities. The centerpiece of the Resolution is a commitment to develop and implement a program for training in committed racial mindfulness. The program would start by training leaders in our congregation and other churches, and then widen to include other members of our congregation, other congregations, and community groups.

Our Denomination's Vision on Racial Justice

Please read this denomination wide statement that is guiding the PCUSA's anti-racism efforts: "Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community," approval by the General Assembly (2016): www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/racialjustice/new_2016_antiracism_policy.pdf.

Also, PCUSA leadership responds to the shootings in Dallas and the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Hard Conversations

The Racial Justice Ministry encourages participation in an online course that some of us have taken and highly recommend -- "Hard Conversations an Introduction to Racism, Unconscious Racism, and Silent Racism."

Check http://www.37days.com/racism/. Please let us know if you sign up for this course, so we can see whether it is possible to have some group discussions within our church.