Resources for Adult Formation with an Emphasis on Race and Diversity

Resources for Adult Formation with an Emphasis on Race and Diversity

So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27 (NRSV)

As Christians we affirm the dignity of every human being; all having been created in the Image of God. There are no exceptions. Here are six resources for adult formation and discipleship that relate to race and diversity.

Sacred Ground

Sacred Ground is a film-based dialogue series on race & faith. It is a small-group curriculum designed in 10 parts with documentary films and readings that focus on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American histories.

This curriculum is part of the larger Becoming Beloved Community commitment within The Episcopal Church to racial healing, reconciliation, and justice in our personal lives, our ministries, and our society. The Copyright permissions make explicit that it is to be used in Episcopal contexts, though non-Episcopalians could partner with an Episcopal congregation to make this offering available. There is a clear syllabus and each session has a discussion guide. Note that the documentaries and articles come from secular sources. The facilitator will need to be comfortable making connections between them, and the scripture passages and prayers made available separately.

GCORR Real Talk

GCORR Real Talk is a series of conversations with community and faith leaders to discuss and uncover the disparities of race, ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status that are deeply embedded in our social fabric. Even as we work to “flatten the curve” during COVID-19, we can work to “close the gaps” between people, particularly with regard to race, financial disparities, access to resources, opportunities, and agency. These talks can be used for individual edification or can be a jumping off point for further discussion with a group. They are extremely timely, speaking to this season of COVID-19 and the disparities that have always existed.

This is created by the General Commission on Religion and Race, an agency within the United Methodist Church. The videos are free for use, but do not include a discussion guide.

Vital Conversations

Vital Conversations 1: Realities of Race and Racism is a video-based series featuring contemporary theologians, sociologists, laity, clergy, and other thought-leaders dealing with challenges of race, culture, and oppression in the Church and world today. There are seven sessions in Series 1, eight in Series 2, 14 in Series 3, and 11 in Series 4.  

These series are created by the General Commission on Religion and Race, an agency within the United Methodist Church. The videos are free for use and each session includes a discussion guide.

White Privilege: Let’s Talk

White Privilege: Let’s Talk—A Resource for Transformational Dialogue is an adult curriculum that’s designed to invite church members to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive, and bold conversations on race. Divided into four focused parts, each one introduces a different aspect of the dynamic of white privilege: The Spiritual Autobiography Told Through the Lens of Race, Whiteness as the Norm: Five Loci of Insights on the Binary of Light/Dark and Black/White, The Cash Value of Whiteness or Whiteness as a Tax-Exempt Status, and On Becoming an Ally. Authors share their personal experiences and diverse views on each topic. There is a good deal of scripture and reflections on church experience throughout the materials. There are questions with each chapter to help facilitate meaningful conversation in church contexts.

One Body Many Members

One Body Many Members: A journey for Christians across race, culture and class is a faith-based journey of discovery to learn, share and proclaim God’s intention of oneness among people of every racial, ethnic and class background. How do we find that unity in a world as diverse as ours? How can we build up “one body” as strong as that? These materials are divided into three parts to lead communities through race, culture, and class in the USA. Along the way participants meet God, practice skills and language of welcome and caring, while gaining clarity about God’s purpose for them.

Part 1: One Body, Similar Members, Leadership Readiness – This part works through the process of building a leadership team and readiness for reflection and discussion on race, class, etc.

Part 2: One Body, Many Members: Meeting Our Neighbors Again for the First Time – This part walks teams through examining cultural biases, cultural awareness, and how these shape relationships.

Part 3: One Body, Many Members, Challenges of Diversity – This part recognizes that transformation is not easy or without conflict. Power dynamics and skills for addressing conflict are addressed.

The materials were created for use in churches affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. They are free for download.

Implicit Bias: What We Don’t Think We Think

Implicit Bias: What We Don’t Think We Think is an on-demand online course for anyone who is interested in learning and teaching others about implicit bias. The course is designed to be done at your own pace with pieces for individual work, group work, and optional sermon preparation. There is a fee associated with the course, currently $20. The Implicit Bias Workbook is available for $10, though, so once leaders participate in the course, they may feel equipped to lead in their context and can work out appropriate pricing with GCORR.

The course and the workbook were created by the General Commission and Religion and Race, an agency of the United Methodist Church.

This list is not exhaustive. We would love to hear what resources you have fount helpful in your context. Let us know in the comments!

The Rev. Katherine A. Malloy is the Associate for Lifelong Learning, Director of Christian Formation Resources at Virginia Theological Seminary.

Leave a Reply