I still remember talking to a group of Latino/a students at Exploration 2002 in Chicago. They were excited to be speaking their native language, hearing stories from others like them and also finding ways to connect with one another. I too was blessed by the stories and their presence and also felt their slight discomfort at being one of the few minorities at the event.
Each day our communities are becoming increasingly diverse. People from all over the world are finding their home in the United States, making lives here, and trying to find God here. This growing diversity brings about challenges and opportunities in our neighborhoods and in our church.
What if the church became one of the primary places where we can have healthy and transformative conversations about race and ethnicity, power and privilege?
I am thankful that for the first time Exploration is making space for people of color to come together and have honest and important discussions about race, ethnicity, racism, privilege, and living life together. Our facilitator will be Jessica Vazquez-Torres who is an organizer/trainer with CrossRoads AntiRacism Organizing & Training. Jessica is a gifted peacemaker, truthteller, and hearer of stories. My prayer is that these conversations help young people discerning a call to ministry can include race relations as a key aspect of their shalom making wherever they serve.
May this be a new beginning for our denomination as we commit to making space, building bridges and being agents of God’s reconciling kingdom. See you in Denver!!