New Year’s Resolutions!

by Rev. Sarah Campbell

  • To keep learning about ourselves and our society when it comes to race.
  • To keep practicing hope for the earth (see Earth Justice section).

Those of us in this congregation who are not white have been forced to do “the work,” whether we choose to or not, the “anti-racism work,” since childhood. And those of us who are white in this predominantly white church, well, many of us have been doing anti-racism work for years—our own internal work and institutional work. (Remember our ASDIC circles and our intercultural competency process and our more recent work with our Race Matters team? And last year, 20 of us were a part of a Minnesota Conference Lenten series…and years earlier, Mayflower partnered with a Black church … We have piles of books and articles we’ve read: James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time; Wendell Berry’s The Hidden Wound; Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow; Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me’ Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and Just Us; Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste; Ibram X Kendi’s How To be An Anti-Racist; Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us; Nikole Hannah-Jones’ The 1619 Project. And some of us are newer to this “consciousness raising,” moved to deeper exploration after George Floyd’s murder and the anti-Asian violence.

May our curiosity and commitment and desire to learn continue until we die. There is always more to learn about how to think and how to act and how to organize. Our religion, which since ancient times has embraced diversity: “there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female for we are all one in Christ…” (–Galatians 3.28, which has also been used perversely for blessing our nation’s racist, colonial, imperial history. (Think Native American genocide, enslavement of African peoples, propping up dictators in Central and South America to extract riches from their lands).

We don’t have to do this work alone. And there are many different ways to learn.

Here are a few things in the works for Mayflower in the first half of 2022:

  • In early winter, join our Race Matters and our ISAIAH groups in an exploration of how to organize for public policy changes that benefit both people of color and working-class white people via what is often called the Race-Class narrative (see Social Justice section of the newsletter for more details).
  • During Lent, you will be invited into a small Lenten group for this soul work: to experience a new process that Mayflower member Jodi Pfar has created and consults around the country from her book The Urgency of Awareness: Unlocking the power within individual, organizational, and community efforts, while exploring pertinent Bible stories. Here’s a brief blurb from her book: “As our 21st century world grows increasingly diverse, it is often the polarizing voices dictating to us how we should view our neighbors, our interactions at work, our families and even our race and ethnicities. Instead of sensing that the world is recognizing and celebrating our differences, we often feel separated from one another. We have not learned to connect the understanding of how our unique individual experiences cause us to see and navigate the world differently.” Stan Kusunoki is also planning a poetry reading series to pair with our Lenten journey.
  • Our Readers Theater on April 3 will be about this work. You will be invited to share a story about how what happened on May 26, 2020, at 38th and Chicago, not two miles from our church, changed your thinking or even your life (see Our Life Together section of the newsletter for more details).

So! Make your resolution now and then watch for opportunities to engage in 2022. Where will this deep soul exploration take this congregation as we move into our second century? Who are we called to be?