Race and the Church

A Group Watch Video Series and Live Discussion

Over past years at the NEXT Church National Gatherings, prophets among us have spoken important words, challenged the church, and called us to action around matters of racism, systems of oppression, and white supremacy – both in our country and in our church. Because we know this work must be done in community to ensure accountability, and because we know being in community looks different these days – NEXT Church will be hosting group watch gatherings and live discussion on our Facebook page over the course of 4 weeks. Each watch party with occur on Tuesday afternoon at 1 pm Eastern.

These group watch gatherings will highlight a different video each week and allow participants the opportunity to react, engage in the chat, and reflect together as they watch and consider what we can learn from each speaker. NEXT Church will also offer a short guide for next steps for each video – through discussion questions for group reflection or tangible action items mentioned by the speaker. The videos and study guides will both be available below if you’re unable to join us at the scheduled time.

We hope that you’ll join us for these virtual gatherings, listen and engage, and then turn what you learn into action. We also encourage you to use these resources to host your own group watch gatherings and discussions in your churches and communities.

Tuesday, June 23rd, 1:00 pm ET – Aisha Brooks-Lytle

At the NEXT Church National Gathering in Atlanta in 2016, Rev. Aisha Brooks-Lytle offered a powerful sermon about how we cannot simply avoid or skirt around the challenges facing us, we have to go through them. We’ll revisit her sermon in the context of our current moment.

Aisha Brooks-Lytle serves as the Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta.

Tuesday, June 30th, 1:00 pm ET – Turnaround Tuesday

At our 2018 National Gathering, members of Turnaround Tuesday, a program that is part of an organization called BUILD in Baltimore, presented a crucial and compelling testimony on their work doing community organizing for formerly incarcerated persons. We’ll look their testimony through the lens of our current reality, and discuss what fresh and ongoing wisdom it offers.

Turnaround Tuesday trains its participants to act on issues as leaders in their communities and in their workplaces. Through strategic partnerships with employers throughout the Baltimore region, Turnaround Tuesday has put over 600 (and counting!) Baltimore citizens to work in living wage jobs.

Tuesday, July 7th, 1:00 pm ET – Jessica Vazquez Torres

Four years ago, Jessica Vazquez Torres spoke challenging and powerful truth about the reality of white supremacy in the church to participants at the NEXT Church National Gathering in Atlanta. Her words are as relevant and needed a message for those of us in the church today as it was then. We’ll rewatch and be challenged anew and reminded of the work that remains to be done.

Jessica Vazquez Torres is a trainer and organizer for Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training and is also the facilitator for NEXT Church’s antiracism audit.

Tuesday, July 14th, 1:00 pm ET – Paul Roberts

Rev. Dr. Paul Roberts preached the closing sermon at our 2017 National Gathering in Kansas City. His message invited participants then – and invites us now – to mount a massive redirect and to reframe the narrative for a call to action. We’ll revisit his wisdom and engage in conversation about how it compels us today.

Paul Roberts is president of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA, and a member of the NEXT Church Strategy Team.