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May Gabriel’s Horn| May 24 Weekly Newsletter

White Privilege Discussion Series

White Privilege: Let’s Talk Discussion Series

Six Sundays, May 12 & 19, June 2, 9, 23 & 30, 2019

8:45 – 10:15am

First Congregational UCC

Following on the success of the prior two White Privilege: Let’s Talk discussion series, we are offering another, co-led by JD Okorie-Dunn, Janneke Ratcliffe and Karen Byrne.  These conversations are intended to help white people strengthen their conceptual and interpretative tools for identifying the many ways whiteness is valued and rewarded at the expense of people of color.  We are neither a book group, nor a task force; our focus is personal experience.  Participants are supported as they explore deeply and honestly their own feelings about race within a safe, supportive, and mutually accountable environment.  As with the earlier series, these conversations are part of First Church’s commitment to anti-racism.  We’ll use (with creative modifications) the UCC curriculum, “White Privilege: Let’s Talk”.   http://privilege.uccpages.org/.    

Child care will be provided.

To participate, please sign up on the sheet posted on the bulletin board in the narthex, or let one of us know (contact information below).   Participants are asked to commit to attending all six sessions, and to minimize absences.  We are planning another series in the coming months, so if you are unable to join us this time, there will be another opportunity.

For more information, please reach out to one or more of us.  Our contact information is below.  We also encourage you to speak with any of the people who have participated in the White Privilege: Let’s Talk discussions held in 2017 and 2018.

While planning this series, we have become aware of other related efforts at First Church, and encourage your support of them as well.  These include the following:


  1. On April 28th, Reverend Sam, Lynaya Morris, and Troy Bent will lead a third after-worship Nurture in the series on Community Building. Following the first two parts, Exploring Our Identity and Exploring Hidden Bias, the third will focus on the importance of belonging.  This conversation, rooted in scripture, will involve sharing stories about when we have felt a strong sense of belonging and ask “what actions create a deeper sense of belonging, and what can we do to create a deeper sense of belonging for everyone at First Church?” For more information, contact Sam McFerran, sam@gmail.com, 202.294.5437.


  1. A discussion group is being explored for people of color at First Church. This would carry out one of the goals in the Anti-Racism Task Force Statement. Since the White Privilege: Let’s Talk discussions were first organized, the Task Force has hoped that people of color at First Church would also form a group to discuss how racism has affected their lives, and that we could then have a congregation-wide interracial dialogue to discuss together our experiences and to discern next steps.  Those of us working on the anti-racism effort at First Church want to support whatever our fellow members who identify as people of color consider useful, or at least worth trying.  As our website says, “We believe we are called to push ourselves to discern, articulate, and act on what we need to do during the next 50 to 100 years to end racism in the church.”  Priscilla Waters, who is leading this effort, invites those who identify as people of color, and anyone else, to share their ideas for how to further shape this effort.   She can be reached at waters3@gmail.com, 240.601.6239.


  1. We’re also considering implementing in the future a program based on the UCC curriculum Sacred Conversations on Race.


We look forward to working with you to build our beloved, multi-racial, multi-cultural community!


Rev. Karen Byrne, revkarenbyrne@gmail.com, 202.365.0017

JD Okorie-Dunn, jddusmc@yahoo.com, 415.412.7749

Janneke Ratcliffe, janneke1018@gmail.com, 919.618.1018


Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.  Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now.  You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

Broadway Presbyterian Church, NYC, street sign, 12.3.17.