Here is what you should know about the Sacred Ground Course
- What is Sacred Ground?
A film and readings based dialogue series on race, grounded in faith. Small groups discuss chapters of US history of race and racism, weaving in threads of family story, economic class and political/regional identity. Each class typically involves 8-10 people who meet for 10 sessions to discuss the assigned materials and their own experiences.
- What groups does Sacred Ground cover?
History of Indigenous, Black, LatinX and Asian/Pacific Islander groups as they intersect with European American histories. Addresses the impact of these histories on all our lives today. Provides various theologians’ perspective about these histories, including what today’s Christians should be doing.
- Why study these histories now? Don’t we know enough about this already?
Those taking the course learned a lot about history they didn’t previously know. Most of our schools did not teach us non-European history, and presented an inaccurate view of slavery and of U.S. treatment of indigenous peoples.
- We haven’t had a race problem at St C’s.Why are we fixing something that isn’t broken?
Historically, St C’s did discriminate against people of color. Also, even today, people of color have been the recipients of well-meant but insensitive comments.
- I am color blind, and I resent being called a racist.Why do I need to take this course?
Even a loving, fair-minded person can be conditioned by long held beliefs and teaching. Plus, if you believe you don’t notice color then you are denying the identity and ignoring the experiences of other racial groups. Without this awareness, we can’t ally with our brothers and sisters who still experience the effect of racial bias from today’s systemic structures.
- I am uncomfortable talking about my racial views with people I don’t know.
We all are, but the advantage of a faith-based group is that the members support each other and that they don’t critique people for their views.
- I don’t have time to take a class.
The class does require a couple of hours of reading or watching films prior to each session, plus a couple of hours per session (with sessions spread over several months) to discuss the materials.The time is worth it though!
- What do past participants say about the benefits of the classes?
They acquired increased knowledge of our country’s history, greater sensitivity to race-related comments all of us may have made, ideas for initiating dialogue with those who disagree with us, development of new friendships within St C, and the energy to work on some of the social injustice problems in the city and elsewhere.
- I am not yet comfortable about attending group events at the church or in people’s homes. Can I do this by zoom?
The last three courses were held by zoom.Going forward, each group can decide for itself whether it wants to meet by zoom, or in person.
- Why does it matter to the church if I attend the classes?
Participation is a way of living God’s love, and bringing us together in God’s beloved community.
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