A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Catching a Second Wind
Today is more or less the halfway point in the inaugural period of our 21-Day Racial Justice Immersion Project, which we launched on July 1.
This project is the next step in our congregation’s racial justice ministry, which really began with the three-part “Faith in Living Color” adult education course in June. That course focused on the most basic elements of racial justice ministry for Christians, especially white Christians: understanding what systemic racism and a commitment to antiracism is; understanding the intellectual and emotional obstacles that keep us from doing that ministry effectively; and exploring how the Christian church both bears real responsibility for helping develop and validate systemic racism and has important theological beliefs and spiritual practices that can help us to dismantle systemic racism and white supremacy.
The 21-Day Racial Justice Immersion Project, then, was designed as the next phase of our ministry. We’ve used fitness/athletic metaphors frequently in this work, and they are helpful again here. If the Faith in Living Color course was our diagnosis that we need to attend to our racial fitness, the 21-Day Racial Justice Immersion Project has been our initial workout plan: a series of resources to develop our abilities to understand and notice systemic racism, to connect with others in doing so for guidance and support, to engage in antiracist activities ourselves, and to reflect on the impact of all this on our lives and faith.
We scheduled a “check-in” for the Immersion Project this Sunday, July 12, at 10 a.m., as a resource for you at the halfway point if you began this work on July 1. I have several friends who are marathon runners, and they often say that one of the hardest points of the race is around halfway, when you’ve been running for a few hours and the initial thrill of beginning the race is long since gone, but you haven’t found your “second wind” yet and it feels like there is still so far to go.
You may be feeling that at this point in the project, so the check-in this Sunday is a chance for you to catch that second wind by reflecting with each other on what you’ve learned so far, what your “aha!” moments have been, and what has been difficult for you in the midst of all this.
It’s also a chance for those who have had to stop the project for whatever reason to catch their breath and begin again, and for those who have not yet started to do so with others who are already on the journey. So wherever you are in the midst of this work, I encourage you to join us for 40 minutes or so this Sunday via Zoom, as we gather to support each other in this vitally important ministry of antiracism.
Grace and Peace,
TO ACCESS THE ZOOM “CHECK IN” AT 10:00 A.M.:
Online: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/955325387 / Meeting ID: 955 325 387
Via phone (audio only): Call 929-205-6099; when prompted enter the Meeting ID:
955 325 387, followed by the # key. You will be asked for the participant ID – simply press the # key.
(If you want to listen in on the Traditional service at 11:00, you can stay on this call, or hang up and call back to the same number.)