We hope that these stories, essays, interviews and sermons -- some new, some from the Faith & Leadership archives -- are helpful for Christian leaders committed to ending structural racism and racial violence.
Given the history of the racial inequities in U.S. health care, concerns about the coronavirus vaccine in the Black community are understandable, says the author. iStock / FG Trade
The coronavirus pandemic has made clear the inequities in our health care system, including Black underrepresentation in clinical trials, says a researcher of unequal access to innovative treatments.
The Black church has played an indelible role in the lives of its members and in the evolution of the nation as a whole, says a producer-director of a recent PBS series.
Pastors must present a more gripping vision of a beloved community to steer congregants away from the lies of Christian nationalism, says an author and activist.
In the second edition of her book, the author of “Dear White Christians” reiterates that listening and responding to calls for reparations precedes the possibility of reconciliation.
If our efforts toward racial reconciliation in the United States are rooted in white belief, they will serve only to erase difference and center whiteness, says a professor.
After terrorists stormed the Capitol and on the eve of the inauguration, healing our divisions feels harder than ever, writes the director of the Thriving Congregations Coordination Program at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
Finding an Asian American in the International Civil Rights Museum reminds us that we all have a part to play in tearing down injustice, says a worship leader.
Members of the Proud Boys march during a protest Dec. 12, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
A pastor whose church in Washington, D.C., was vandalized by white supremacists urges his fellow Christians to avoid feel-good responses and instead act in community to disrupt systems of oppression.
Before we reach for unity, we must first stop being bad neighbors, says a pastor.
Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago raised millions of dollars to build a green roof, pictured here, which is covered in vegetation to absorb rainfall and regulate temperature. Photos courtesy of Trinity UCC
An urban megachurch on Chicago’s South Side is a leader in creation care, drawing upon the congregation’s history and addressing its current needs.
The Rev. Dr. Wanda Lundy, pastor of Siloam Hope First Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey, walks in the church graveyard that inspired the 313 Project. Photos by Alexis Llewellyn
A merged congregation bonds over a project to honor the freed and enslaved Africans buried in its cemetery
A historic, predominantly Black congregation in New Jersey seeks to learn the names and stories of more than 300 unidentified souls buried in unmarked graves.
In his new book, Jennings discusses this image, "Family worship in a plantation in South Carolina," which illustrates what he calls the racial paterfamilias. Image courtesy of The New York Public Library digital collections
Willie James Jennings: By naming the foundational problems of theological education, we can aspire to an alternative vision
In the inaugural book of the Theological Education Between the Times series, an associate professor at Yale Divinity School describes his hope for forming gatherers of people rather than sustainers of an old, sick model of domination.
Korie Little Edwards: Multiracial churches don't challenge racism until they challenge white supremacy
Diversity doesn’t necessarily challenge racism, says a sociologist who studies multicultural churches.
The Rev. Eric S.C. Manning, who leads Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, hugs Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, of the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh. The New York Times / Photo by Hilary Swift
The rabbi of the Tree of Life congregation and the pastor of Mother Emanuel AME talk about their relationship, their shared spiritual heritage and what lies ahead.
Congregations can complicate their present and hobble their future by hiding from their past, writes the executive director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
Intentional self-care, a church’s ethos of care and congregational openness to new approaches are notable factors that contribute to the thriving of Black clergywomen, a researcher has found.
"Don't kill my son" reads the face mask of a woman who holds her child during a demonstration. Unsplash / Photo by Nechirwan Kavian
The torture inflicted on Black people dates back to enslavement and continues to this day as a denial of their humanity, writes the dean of Duke Chapel.
The promises made through baptism must reflect Christians’ commitment to justice and peace for all people, writes the director of the Thriving Congregations Coordination Program at Duke Divinity.
As graduates of segregation academies confront their pasts, the churches that helped create and sustain the schools must as well.
More than 80 people took part in a pilgrimmage to commemorate Maryland’s constitutional end of chattel slavery, walking the "Trail of Souls" that included stops at Baltimore churches. Photo courtesy of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland
Faith communities should be careful and thoughtful as they repent of this nation’s original sin, but they must move ahead with the work.
Book cover detail from "Brown Church: Five Centuries of Latina/o Social Justice, Theology and Identity"
The brown church has been deconstructing and reconstructing Christianity since the colonial period, says a professor and author.
A Black mother of sons challenges white women to move beyond silence or tepid, timid outrage to work for a world in which all of God’s children can live more fully and fairly.
COVID-19 -- and its impact on black and brown communities -- is the American empire in viral form, writes the pastor of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.
Stories are sacred -- especially the stories that are undertold and suppressed, says the author in an excerpt from a new book that tells her own story of rediscovering God as a Potawatomi woman.
In the national aftermath of recent racist violence, a church and a community continue the work of healing as they mark the five-year anniversary of the Charleston massacre.
Five years after losing friends and neighbors in the murders at Mother Emanuel, an AME pastor writes about the impact on him, Charleston and the nation.
The author leads a worship workshop at the Duke Youth Academy. Photo courtesy of Duke Youth Academy / Casey Brewer
Worship leaders of color are often brought in to encourage diversity in congregations, but real diversity requires shifts in the entire culture of a church, says the worship leader and writer.
Green The Church encourages congregations to install solar panels, among other environmentally friendly strategies. Photos courtesy of Green The Church
Green The Church encourages African American congregations to commit to an environmental theology that promotes sustainable practices and helps build economic and political change.
With a curriculum based in the works of Black intellectuals and creatives, a Baptist pastor helps white participants consider racism as they haven’t before.
The Rev. Starsky Wilson, center, wearing stole, links arms with scholar and activist Cornel West as they participate in a direct action at the Thomas Eagleton Federal Court Building in downtown St. Louis on Aug. 10, 2015. Photo by Wiley Price/The St. Louis American
Part of the difficult witness for the privileged within the church is to renounce a bit of that privilege and work on behalf of the marginalized, says the co-chair of the Ferguson Commission.
People pray Aug. 15, 2014, at the site of a convenience store destroyed after Ferguson police released the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown.
Bigstock/Gino Santa Maria
There was no single leader in Ferguson, Missouri, writes a seminary professor, activist and author of the book “Ferguson and Faith.” Instead, there were many leaders, who inspire hope for the future.
Charlottesville clergy and others -- such as activist and social critic Cornel West, third from left -- marched in opposition to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Viriginia, which resulted in violent clashes. Photo by Sandi Bachom
Three people who were part of the organized religious opposition to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, share their experiences.
In this episode of “Can These Bones,” co-host Laura Everett talks with Eric Barreto, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, about training students to parse Greek verbs and become wise readers of Scriptures and communities.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was never a solitary, mythical figure during the civil rights movement, and people involved in the struggle today should not look for such a leader. Instead, we should look for the leader within and the leaders all around us, who emerge from the ground up, says the dean of the faculty at Christian Theological Seminary.
A man in Ferguson, Missouri, holds on to a fence on August 15, 2014, at the site of a convenience store destroyed during rioting after the shooting death of Michael Brown by police.
Bigstock/Gino Santa Maria
In an age of nonstop media that exposes us as never before to the world’s pain and brokenness, lamentation is an essential and even revolutionary act, one that the church needs desperately to reclaim, says a young pastor.
Natasha Jamison Gadson: After Charleston, what is the new normal for pastors, churches and Christian leaders?
The Charleston shooting presents more than just security challenges to church leaders, writes an AME minister. This moment demands honest language and an insistence that black bodies are the image of God.
The Rev. William H. Lamar IV, (center, in the pulpit), at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C., at a June 21, 2015, service which honored the nine victims of the mass killing in Charleston, South Carolina.
In the aftermath of the mass killings in Charleston, South Carolina, church leaders must begin having real conversations about the truth of America’s history and its mistaken belief in the myth of redemptive violence, the pastor of Metropolitan AME Church says in this interview.
The author and speaker addresses the theology and history that informed the exploration of the New World -- and what it means to repent of America’s unjust foundation.
The Rev. William J. Barber, left, and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove are working together on the Poor People's Campaign, a nationwide effort to "challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality." Photo courtesy of Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
Understanding the way that America’s history has subverted our reading of the Bible is necessary if we are to be freed from institutional racism and to embrace a Christianity that recognizes the equal worth of every person, says the author of “Reconstructing the Gospel.”
Christians need to adopt a deeper, more complex understanding of how race shapes our lives and communities, says the author and theologian in this interview. And to resist racism, we need to ‘recover’ Jesus, taking Christ and Scripture seriously.
White Christians' work
It's important that white people who care about racial reconciliation and healing have difficult conversations in their own communities -- such as church, says Carolyn B. Helsel. Bigstock/Kasia Bialasiewicz
White people may feel shame and guilt about racism -- but that should not halt the conversation, says the author of the new book “Anxious to Talk About It.”
A Black Lives Matter protester participating in a July 12, 2016, march on City Hall following a court ruling on the Los Angeles Police Department fatal shooting of Redel Jones. BigStock / Bettorodrigues
Christian institutions can support people of color by investing money in minority leaders, scholarship, safe spaces and church buildings, writes a blogger and ordained PCUSA minister.
People in Charlotte, North Carolina, protest the death of Keith Scott, who was killed by police. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Agenda
Pastors seeking to support justice movements should let people on the front lines lead. This means clergy are going to have to get used to being uncomfortable, writes a pastor from Charlotte, North Carolina.
A white youth pastor says it’s important to go beyond diversity when leading youth in the work of racial repair. Admitting failure, fostering careful listening, and paying attention to the local context are all important parts of the process, he writes.
A pastor working in the marginalized community of Houston’s 5th Ward argues that racial inequalities lie at the heart of our nation’s founding.
The theologian and psychologist investigates the history of the reconciliation movement and offers, in her new book, a womanist view that recognizes the complexity of racism and centers the conversation on its victims.
David Bailey, founder of the nonprofit Arrabon, onstage at the closing concert of a songwriting internship. Arrabon's programs provide leadership opportunities to minorities, women and others who don’t normally have a leadership development pipeline. Photo by Mike Morones
We underestimate the brokenness brought about by racism -- and the creativity needed to reverse it -- but Christianity offers a way forward to healing and reconciliation, says the executive director of Arrabon.
The United Church of Christ’s minister for racial justice helps people get started and stay on the journey of dismantling racism and deconstructing whiteness.
The best conversations about race happen among people who have something in common besides simply an interest in talking about it, says the executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches. He offers tips for black and white congregations to engage and strengthen their bonds.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and Grace Ji-Sun Kim speak in South Korea in July 2018. Photo courtesy of Grace Ji-Sun Kim
The esteemed civil rights figure and Asian American theologian speak on how their interests in justice have led to frequent collaboration and a new book.
Claudia May: Reconciliation requires us to observe, practice and take seriously how Jesus lived on earth
Reconciliation doesn’t begin with us but with God and God’s longing to reconcile all of us to himself. And Jesus is the model for how reconciliation happens, a scholar says in this interview.
In this episode of “Can These Bones,” co-host Bill Lamar talks with the Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce, the new dean of Howard’s divinity school, about why she’s excited about the challenges of theological education.
A portion of the North Star window at Chicago's New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. It represents the great migration of African Americans leaving the South and includes images of the church's longest-serving pastors. Photo by Eric Allix Rogers
A Chicago church has installed a trio of stained-glass windows to help its members reclaim their past, honor their present and look ahead to their future.
Joined by Urban Doxology staff, interns are all in as they get ready to perform a concert of their own worship songs. Photo by Mike Morones
At the Urban Doxology Songwriting Internship, young musicians study theology and collaborate on worship songs that speak to the challenges of a diverse community.
Participants in the Durham Pilgrimage of Pain and Hope walk through the N.C. city. The pilgrimage teaches about the pain, pride and suffering of the city's people. Photos courtesy of DurhamCares.
Going on a “pilgrimage of pain and hope” in your own city is a spiritual discipline with the power to transform your relationship with a place and its people, writes a pilgrimage participant and leader.
Teenagers from an Iowa church youth group and Baltimore schoolchildren take a break during a summer learning camp. Photo by J.M. Giordano
At Baltimore’s The Center, church groups from across the U.S. work with outreach ministries of local congregations while learning about the theology of missions and the root causes of poverty and racism. Organizers hope they will apply these lessons in their home communities.
Sanitation workers discuss their protest with the mayor of Memphis in a musical based on the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, “Union: The Musical.” Photo by Alex Maness
“Union: A Musical” tells the story of the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike. But its real purpose is to spark a conversation about racial and economic justice in the communities where it is performed.