After a two-year hiatus, parishioners at Calvary Church in Summit were excited to gather again for Lent. In the early planning stages two major goals emerged: to share a meal together in community and to build upon last year’s virtual discussions on Becoming Beloved Community. That’s where the curriculum Tell Me the Truth About Racism comes in.
A 2021 recipient of the Beloved Community grant, Tell Me the Truth About Racism uses Montessori-inspired storytelling and simple manipulatives (similar to both Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Godly Play) to invite people into the work of anti-racism through faith and wondering. It contrasts the lie that some people are better than others based on the color of their skin with the truth we know from God, that all people are created in God’s image. The six stories journey from creation to present day, inviting listeners to see systemic racism throughout history with new eyes, through a lens of faith. While the curriculum was originally crafted with children ages 5-12 in mind, the stories are truly a gift for children and adults of all ages.
For many, this was the first time they had shared a meal together since the pandemic started. By gathering on common ground first, over delicious food provided by a group of volunteers, parishioners were able to reestablish bonds with one another before broaching a difficult topic.
The Rev. Diana Clark reflected, “I found this simple gift of sharing a meal and storytelling followed by simple yet powerful visuals to be profoundly Eucharistic in these times of constantly ‘breaking news’ and way too many words.”
Said Adele Haley, “This year's Lenten program approached a delicate subject in a way that made it accessible and illuminating for people of all ages. We were invited to share our thoughts in an open, non-judgmental forum that shed new light on a timely subject and challenged us to consider our Christian precepts. The inter-generational gathering and communal supper also added greatly to bringing Calvary together in needed fellowship.”
Each week’s story showed the ways God’s people have fallen short of God’s Dream that we would love each other and instead believed the lie of racism, while also highlighting those who bravely fought for God’s Dream. After the story, parishioners wondered aloud together, asking questions of the stories, God, and themselves.
Some of the most poignant questions came from our youngest attendees, such as “Who invented racism?” and “I wonder if any of the white kids, whose parents kept them home from school, actually wanted to go to school with Ruby Bridges?” Claire, one of our 8-year-old participants, shared "I enjoyed having discussions with adults about the presentation. They listened to me and didn't talk to me like I was a little kid."
Our wondering is not complete, it is just beginning. But that is the work of becoming a Beloved Community, where we strive to love one another as God intended, and as God loves each of us still.
If you are interested in featuring Tell Me the Truth About Racism in your community, contact the Rev. Carrie Cabush at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out the interest form on the curriculum’s website.