A Call to All: Our First All-Church Read

Race is not something people can choose to ignore anymore. Ijeoma Oluo

This fall each of us is invited to read So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. This is the first time SPC has embarked on a church-wide reading experience together. Why this book and why now?

“We are living in the midst of an anti-racist revolution” says writer Ibram Kendi. Hundreds of thousands of people protested this spring and summer calling for racial justice. This is the civil rights movement of our time. Clearly, racism is a wound we haven’t been able to heal yet.

Our denomination, the PCUSA, states that it is the vision of our church to eradicate white supremacy and dismantle institutionalized racism. The PCUSA Church wide Antiracism Policy states clearly: “GOD LOVES BLACKNESS. Too many have denied this basic truth for too long. Our choice to align ourselves with love and not hate requires both a rejection of racism and a positive proclamation that God delights in Black lives.”

Our denomination further states that affirming that Black Lives Matter is very much in line with who we are as Presbyterians, and while the gospel of Jesus Christ is political, it is not partisan. It is not in service to any one political party or leaning, but challenges all of us to work for justice for the oppressed. Justice is a gospel value, one that all who claim Jesus as Lord should hold.

Oluo says we don’t have a lot of practice in putting words to racial issues. This book will better equip us to have those difficult conversations. It is practical, insightful, and readable. And there are other actions we can take through SPC’s Social Justice Committee and elsewhere to meet this moment.

Here’s how you can participate:

  • buy a book at Four Seasons Books in Shepherdstown or download it from your favorite app
  • join the discussion at the Sunday Seminars beginning September 20 (watch for the Zoom link in the Wednesday e-news or contact the office. For full seminar schedule go to http://shepherdstownpresbyterian.org/education/adult)
  • join the Presbyterian Women’s monthly discussion (contact Rie Wilson via office@shepherdstownpresbyterian.org) or
  • create your own discussion group. Study materials will be made available soon.

Where will we stand in this discussion, in this time and place?

For more information contact Ethel Hornbeck at ethel@shepherdstownpresbyterian.org.