Faith and Racial Justice: Changing Systems and Structures
This eight-week program guides participants in telling the truth about the history of racism in the United States, that we might work toward true reconciliation with God and restoration with one another.
Be willing to do something that’s a little bit uncomfortable in the hope that you’ll get to a place that’s a lot more liberating. — Bryan Stevenson
Do you want to address racism in your faith community, but you don’t know where to begin?
Faith and Racial Justice: Changing Systems and Structures gives participants the tools they need to address racism at a systemic level — whether they decide to work for criminal justice reform, advocate for fair housing, close the racial wealth gap, or end racism within the church. In this eight-week program, small groups learn about key obstacles to racial justice that are embedded within our institutions, systems, and structures. They are then equipped to mobilize people and resources to dismantle those obstacles. Through a grounding in prayer, spiritual practice, and a study on the Epistle of St. James, your group will leave the program ready to work for racial justice in your nation, local community, and the churches and institutions of which you are a part.
Before taking this program, we highly recommend taking either Faith and Racial Equity or Faith and Racial Healing, which provide foundational information to understanding racist systems and structures. However, we leave it up to facilitators to decide what is best for their groups. For more information, see FAQs below.
Faith and Racial Justice: Changing Systems and Structures consists of eight 2½-hour sessions. All sessions include prayer, dialogue, active listening, and relationship-building. Some sessions include videos and/or a guest speaker. JustFaith Ministries recommends that a group be approximately eight to fifteen people.
Two volunteer facilitators are needed for Faith and Racial Justice: Changing Systems and Structures. Facilitators are not “experts” but are simply keepers of the process. JustFaith Ministries provides strong facilitation support, including a facilitation training webinar.
Participants read a groundbreaking book on criminal justice and mass incarceration, as well as a book that introduces techniques for grassroots organizing. A third book will guide your group in a weekly spiritual practice. During each session, videos and short articles provide the basis for conversation and learning, while songs, prayers, and liturgies ground participants in a sense of belonging and spiritual family. Click here for the book list. All books are available through JustFaith Ministries bookstore.
Immersion and Retreat
In order to build community and Scriptural grounding, Faith and Racial Justice includes a one-day retreat, during which participants join in prayer, introspective reflection, and holy conversation around their personal experiences with race and justice.
The immersion connects participants with community organizations already engaged in racial justice efforts. This real-world experience guides groups in discerning how they can put their learning into action.
Affordable Pricing for Groups
Churches, Parishes, Organizations
- Comprehensive materials for each session
- Facilitation scripts, guidance, training and JFM staff support
- Immersion guidance
- Direct access to program staff for support
- Additional resources – approx $32 per participant (includes common book from Faith and Racial Equity)
All other materials are web-based
|Faith and Racial Justice 2020-21
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to take any of the racism program in a particular order?
You can take Faith and Racial Equity and Faith and Racial Healing in whichever order you wish. However, we highly recommend that you take Faith and Racial Justice AFTER having completed one of the previous two programs. Give us a call if we can help you discern what’s best for your group.
How is this program different from Faith and Racial Equity and Faith and Racial Healing?
Faith and Racial Equity focuses on racial privilege, while Faith and Racial Healing explores the history of racism in the United States (focusing on the African American experience). Faith and Racial Justice looks at systemic racism and equips participants to dismantle it.
I want to talk about racism, but I don’t want to cause a split in my church!
As Christians, we are called to speak truth and to stand in solidarity with the marginalized, even when there’s real risk involved. However, one of the primary reasons JustFaith Ministries developed this program is because we are well aware of the tension around this issue, particularly in churches, and that a botched attempt at conversation or training can cause more harm than good. Faith and Racial Justice will teach your community the skills they need to engage in important conversations with deep listening and mutual respect. Also, this program comes with a facilitator training webinar, as well as live facilitation support. After having completed Faith and Racial Justice, you can not only expect your group to have grown closer, but also to be better equipped to have hard conversations around any issue, no matter the subject matter.
What if our group is all white?
People of color often have the burden of teaching white people about racism. That’s a lot of pressure! For this reason, we designed these materials for small groups of any demographic. Experts of color have guided the JustFaith Ministries staff in choosing books, videos, and articles that highlight voices of color and speak truth about the reality of racism in our country.
What books will we read?
Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, The New Jim Crow Organizing Guide by Daniel Hunter, and 40 Days of Prayer by Cheri Mills
What if my group wants to do more than one racism program, can I get a discount?
Yes! Contact the JustFaith Ministries office 502-429-0865, or email [email protected] for more information.