In her testimony during the 2016 National Gathering, Jessica Vazquez Torres offers a strong challenge to the church to get serious about addressing the evil that is racism in meaningful ways. This 30 minute video is a resource for leaders and congregations who are already talking about race, racism, and white supremacy and want to lean into that tension.
https://next.myworshiptimes31.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/2019/04/featured-jessica-jvt-testimony.jpg200398Linda Kurtz/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/2016/01/NEXT-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_lato-1030x229.pngLinda Kurtz2019-04-09 15:58:232019-04-09 15:58:23Addressing the Evil That is Racism
Black congregational instability is only one issue that is facing Black Presbyterians, and in 2018, I dare say that it is not the most significant. The challenge of being Black in the Presbyterian Church (USA) is not about decline. It is about racism.
In these historically Black Presbyterian churches, there is a culture that guides, governs, and determines the future for the survival of these congregations. The Black church of the PCUSA is steeped in rich tradition that seemingly gets lost in translation when being acknowledged at the national level.
https://next.myworshiptimes31.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/2018/10/featured-cece.jpg200398Linda Kurtz/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/2016/01/NEXT-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_lato-1030x229.pngLinda Kurtz2018-10-24 06:29:582018-10-17 19:35:38National Words for Local Work
We must learn to wrestle like Jacob at Jabbock with our intersectional sins, known as race, class, and gender, that keep us from seeing the humanity of the individuals for whom we took a constitutional oath to call colleague. If the church is become the loving community God created it to be, we must allow ourselves to embrace the beautiful, yet never ending, struggle of becoming our better selves.
While the acknowledgement of the larger church by way of the resolution is necessary and in many ways hopeful, we must acknowledge that it is a particular privilege to lament, assess, and consider while the most vulnerable congregations struggle. Black churches have been sharing for many years the disparity and being treated less-than-equally.
It still holds true that no resolution from General Assembly will immediately reverse nor empower black congregations to alter bad actions that have caused the black Presbyterian presence and voice around Presbyterian tables to be minimized. Neither this resolution nor the criticism of the resolution will transfigure a system that allows black congregation shrinking numbers.
https://next.myworshiptimes31.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/2018/10/featured-coastal-commissioners.jpg200398Linda Kurtz/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/2016/01/NEXT-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_lato-1030x229.pngLinda Kurtz2018-10-11 06:05:012018-10-10 15:13:47Plenty Good Room at the Table
Our denomination is still predominately White; therefore, at best we can make sure that Black people are represented on all committees. However that will not resolve the racist, sexist, or even patriarchy that is foundational to the way we have done and still do things. Further, “raising awareness” about the decline of Black congregations does nothing to address the systemic causes related to the reduction of Black congregations.
https://next.myworshiptimes31.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/2018/10/featured-flo-preaching.jpg200398Linda Kurtz/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/2016/01/NEXT-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_lato-1030x229.pngLinda Kurtz2018-10-10 06:03:342018-10-10 07:56:12The Church that is Becoming