Hope Church discusses issues of racism

Monday, June 29, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — About 20 members of Columbia Hope Episcopal Church met Sunday afternoon to discuss racism within the denomination as well as hopes to diversify the church.

Chester Hines, Jr., chairman of the Commission on Dismantling Racism for the Episcopal diocese of Missouri, traveled from St. Louis to address the congregation and facilitate discussion. Hines gave a brief version of the presentation that usually lasts two days.

The presentation focused on a history of racism within the Episcopal Church, the church’s vision, mission and goals regarding racial interactions, and the definitions of power, racism and white privilege. Hines said the purpose of raising awareness about racism was to make a change.

“Our work is focused on dismantling racism in the Episcopal Church,” Hines said.

For Hope Church’s pastor, the Rev. Heather McCain, the vision includes diversifying the church as well as extending those efforts into the community.

“I hope we will increase the diversity present in our congregation,” McCain said. “And that we will work on undoing the racism within our own hearts and minds, that we will be able to reach out and serve people in our community and participate in social actions in Columbia that will promote justice and create peace.”

Hines invited those present to participate in the longer, two-day version of the presentation in St. Louis before the end of the year. He also said trainers from the diocese would be willing to bring the presentation to Columbia if enough interest was generated.

Earlier this month, members of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregations attended a similar workshop focusing on their Reconciliation Mission. That training workshop also focused on raising awareness about racism and the response of the church.


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Ray Shapiro June 29, 2009 | 12:31 a.m.

("COLUMBIA — About 20 members of Columbia Hope Episcopal Church met Sunday afternoon to discuss racism within the denomination as well as hopes to diversify the church.")
In a town of 100,000 people situated in the bible belt with a plethora of churches, a meeting of 20 good intentioned people to combat racism seems very trite, IMHO.
Now, if First and Second Baptist Church got together and sponsored an interfaith family gathering/mixer, that would be impressive.
Good luck, Episcopalians!

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