An Invitation for 2019

ANNOUNCING

“We ALL Belong Here” Book Groups 2019

Sponsored by Western North Carolina Faith Communities Organizing for Sanctuary

Dismantling White Supremacy, Privilege, and Racism

Toward Greater Self-Understanding and Transformation at the Intersections of Diversity

 

Your faith community is invited to participate whether or not you are a member of WNC Faith Communities Organizing for Sanctuary.

The purpose of the book groups is to engage with, and be challenged by, an array of thoughtful persons whose experiences, perspectives, voices, and words can lead us beyond our genial comfort zones and help us see, as in a mirror, the troubling, sometimes blatant yet often subtle aspects of systemic white supremacy, privilege, and racism embedded in our American life and institutions, including our religious communities.

Our goal is to widen our capacity to entertain diverse viewpoints and engage in compassionate and wise conversations and actions for the sake of creating a more just and inclusive world for all of God’s people.

Therefore we ask ourselves:

       As communities of faith defined in large measure by privileged whiteness, how are we involved in conscious and unconscious expressions of cultural racism?

       What do we need by way of our own preparation in order to obtain more purposeful and constructive alliances with people of color and communities of difference that are suffering from the costly moral, social, economic, and political injuries and inequities imposed by the structures of white power and white privilege?

       As people of faith how are our visions of a just society being questioned and transformed by persons and communities whose human experiences diverge from our own?

It is because of the vital importance of these kinds of questions that we extend an invitation to you to become a part of the “We ALL Belong Here” Book Groups 2019.

You are encouraged to join with one or more of your neighboring faith communities in forming such reading and reflection groups, or to conduct groups on your own. Groups may meet monthly or more often as determined by the participating faith communities.

Several area-wide book-related events will be announced for future dates during the year, enabling all book group participants to come together to share in common what we have gained from our reading and conversations. We hope you will participate in these.

The booklist printable flyer (available as a PDF) consists of suggested readings for the twelve months of 2019, which you may revise as to selections and sequence to suit your specific situation, e.g., substituting alternative books for ones you may have already read and discussed. A second PDF providing detailed book descriptions and ISBNs is also available. For copies of the two PDFs, contact Charles Davidson below.

Firestorm Books and Coffee of Asheville offers us a 10% book group discount. We encourage you to place your bulk orders and individual orders with Firestorm as a positive way to help it sustain its work supporting “grassroots movements in Southern Appalachia while developing a workplace on the basis of cooperation, empowerment and equity.” Please address your book order questions to Beck at Firestorm. See the booklist flyer for contact information.

Each book group is requested to identify a contact person to serve as liaison to the planning team. We would like to know that you have formed a book group and also hear from you as to how the conversations are going. The person on the planning team for you to contact is the Rev. Richard Coble of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church (rcoble@gcpcusa.org).

As we join together in this important initiative, engaged in a year of intentional reading and reflection, may deep peace, hope, joy, and open minds and hearts accompany our inquiries and discussions, with love sufficient for widening the circle of inclusion to all persons to whom there rightfully belong, in the words of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, “the dignity of difference.”

—The Planning Team of the Outreach-Advocacy-Education Working Group of Western North Carolina Faith Communities Organizing for Sanctuary – David McNair, Barbara Brady, Richard Coble, Charles Davidson

Although this announcement was emailed to those who are representatives of faith communities formally affiliated with WNC Faith Communities Organizing for Sanctuary, we ask you to copy and email this information to your own faith community and friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. They may wish to form their own books groups or join with yours.

We encourage you to include the booklist publicity flyer in your faith community’s communication media, such as inserts for worship bulletins, newsletters, internal emails, or websites.

You may post the flyer on your Facebook page and print it for posting on bulletin boards and windows in public spaces within your geographic area.

You May Contact Charles Davidson if you have questions.