Listen to several participants in the Community Conversation hosted by Grace United Methodist Church. The Conversation meets each Tuesday at 12:00 pm by Zoom for education, support and leader development for people who want to be multicultural change agents in their own setting.
This quote from Dr. Albert Rabboteau captures the hope for hosting these community conversations in the church.
What can we do to be instruments of peace and agents of reconciliation?
"The issue of how do we desegregate on a micro level, is I think as important an issue and maybe even more important than the larger statements and apologies by [church] denominations. That is fine. But it doesn’t necessarily affect the ongoing racial divide unless people are meeting in schools, in homes, in work places face-to-face and having contact in which their stories can be shared. What we are as a nation is a collection of disparate stories, an ever exfoliating set of separate stories and what we need to bind us together is to be able to hear the stories of others in face-to-face encounter. And that can be sponsored by churches; churches would be a natural place to sponsor that kind of face-to face contact. But it’s amazing when I ask the question of how many of you really meet regularly and experience the life stories of people who come from a different ethnicity than their own. And it is rarer than one might think."
What we've noticed in the Community Conversations is that our lives change when we sit with one another and converse. When we share our own stories and listen to another. Real, honest, vulnerable conversation leads to empathy. It fosters our understanding and sharpens our convictions. It breaks down barriers and builds surprising new relationships. Conversation leads to change - to peace with justice.