WATERFORD — Monthly discussion groups hosted by the Waterford Congregational Church will be held to explore the relationship to race and the privileges white members of the diverse society enjoy. The sessions will begin via Zoom on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Based on the curriculum “White Privilege: Let’s Talk, A Resource of Transformational Dialogue,” created by the United Church of Christ, the discussions will offer a safe, meaningful and substantive forum for interested church and community members. Sessions will be led by the Rev. Doretta Colburn, pastor of WCC; Alan Struck, church moderator; and Deacon Dianne Morse Leonard.

Why do citizens of Waterford, a tiny village with an essentially all-white church, need to discuss issues of race? The UCC answers the question: “White” is a race just as much as “Black.” There is a need to realize conversations about race are not just about people of color, nor should all people of color be lumped together. Whiteness also should be examined in the safe space of the church community.

There are white people who feel undermined by actions of justice and equality. These people support those in leadership who tout racist and sexist rhetoric. Black people alone cannot stop this sort of hate speech and thought. The UCC program takes the position that: “The hands-on work of dismantling this level of hatred falls upon white people who remember history, who see the danger and want to see an end. You don’t need people of color in your town or church to do this collective internal work of dismantling racism.” There are blind spots in regard to racism that everyone carries, and people of faith need to become aware of them and dismantle them.

During the six months of sessions, participants will engage in large group discussions, watch short videos, break out into small groups and have a chance to journal about their experiences and understandings.

There will be opportunities to read between group meetings as well as to do self-reflective writing. By the end of the sessions each will have the beginnings of an autobiography of how race, privilege and power have impacted their lives’ stories. Participants will be invited to share their writing with the group on a voluntary basis.

To register or for more information, contact Al Struck at [email protected] by Sunday, Nov. 22.

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