Conversations That Shape Us is a new resource that uses biblical concepts to understand and respond to racism within a Canadian context. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), the Canadian Bible Society, Canadian Christians for Justice and Mercy and Cardus produced the conversation guide, a PDF resource designed especially for use with church staff or congregation small groups.
The guide “invites you into a courageous conversation about racism,” says Beverley Muir, a professor of education at Tyndale University. “It does not start with looking at injustices, albeit they are plentiful. It starts with the human heart, where each of us is invited to journey inward and talk about our biases and assumptions. Once that journey has begun we are able to talk with sincere honesty and humility about addressing racism in our lives, our organizations and in our churches.”
Conversations That Shape Us unpacks important issues such as understanding racism as a sin issue and the concept of race. The guide has individual reflection time, group discussion questions and includes a list of Canadian and international resources for further learning. Leaders will find tips and tools for how they can manage group discomfort and create safe environments for healthy discussions.
“Good conversations can plant seeds for listening, personal reflection and evaluation,” says Muir. “Look at Jesus Christ. So much of His teaching in the Gospels started with conversations with men and women from all walks of life.”
The guide is unique in that it focuses on racism in the Canadian context and approaches the topic with a Christian lens. The guide emphasizes group and individual reflection, Scripture study and prayer. It will likely take about four sessions to work through, allowing one to two hours per session. However, small groups are encouraged to complete the guide at their own pace.
“We need personal relationships and conversations where trust can be built and where we can try to have brave spaces to both talk and listen deeply,” says Rev. Dr. Timothy Li-Hui Tang, director of Tyndale University’s Intercultural Ministries Centre. “This is a timely resource to get the conversation started on a road where we all have a long way yet to journey."
The resource is available online: access Conversations That Shape Us, along with more information for leaders and a video on understanding the concept of race, at www.TheEFC.ca/Racism.
Learn more about the guide and three other EFC resources at a Resource Reveal on March 3 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. Register at www.TheEFC.ca/Resources/Webinars/EFC-Resource-Reveal.
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