In order to support, encourage and empower people of faith to help make Springfield a more welcoming and inclusive community, Brentwood Christian Church founded the Greater Springfield Center for Diversity and Reconciliation in 2011. As a local collaborative, the Center for Diversity and Reconciliation (CDR) is dedicated to promoting economic dignity, race equity, social justice and equal rights for all people in the greater Springfield area. We partner with community organizations ranging from local universities and businesses to non-profits, including churches and religious organizations. We hope you will join us to help live into what Dr. Martin Luther King described as the “Beloved Community.”
By Melissa Hillman
In theater and in academia, my two worlds, we talk a lot about “diversity.” In theater, we talk about diversity in casting, we talk about diversity in programming, we talk about diversity in audiences. In academia, we talk about “attracting and retaining diverse students” and “the diversity of our faculty.” But there’s a massive elephant in the room that we continue to ignore.
Diversity is not enough.
Do not confuse “diversity” with “equity.” I have been in far too many situations where an organization hires a handful of people of color, plunks them into the lowest rung (either by title or by treatment) and then never thinks about them again. I have been in far too many situations where faculty believe they are “working to retain” students of color by designing classes with titles like “Keepin’ It Real: African American Performance,” taught by a fussy middle-aged musical theater professor, instead of engaging the students directly to discover what support they actually need.
Read the full article here
The Greater Springfield Center for Diversity and Reconciliation is holding a trivia night fundraiser to raise money for its many important community initiatives, including its support of Springfield Black Tie. Childcare will be provided.
TRIVIA NIGHT FUNDRAISER
When: Sunday, Sept. 20th, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Brentwood Christian Church (1900 E. Barataria, 65804)
Cost: $10 per person; $50 for team of six
ABOUT THE CDR
The Greater Springfield Center for Diversity and Reconciliation (CDR) was formed in 2012 as a social justice initiative in partnership with Brentwood Christian Church in Springfield, MO. CDR strives to collaborate with a variety of local organizations in order to “transform, educate, and connect communities of faith in Springfield, Missouri to inspire deep understanding and profound appreciation of our differences which calls each of us to our fullest relationship with one another in God’s love.”
By Cory Goode
At the time that I sat down to write this letter, the streets of Baltimore were being swallowed up by waves of violence, fire, and fear. Anger and frustration have again reached their boiling points following the death of Freddie Gray. A city—a community—is seeking answers as to what caused the injuries that led to Gray’s death while he was in police custody.
Earlier this morning, a friend shared the following quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., on her Facebook profile.
“It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.”
We share a moral obligation to condemn any act of violence in times such as these, warranted or unwarranted. The authority we have given to our police to protect and serve our communities is not immoral, but police brutality most certainly is. Protest is not an immoral act, but the violence that sadly accompanies many recent protests most certainly is.
At the same time, we share a moral obligation to pause and listen to the voice of “the unheard.”
Whatever issues are present in our society related to race and violence, we must listen to one another. None of us are exempt from the ills of our nation. Our union, no matter how polarized we may be, exists under the premise that all are created equal and that liberty and justice should be extended to each and every one of us.
The story that’s being played out in Baltimore and all the other stories like it have carried more than their share of national headlines over the last few months, but I’d like to think that these stories are ones that affect each of us deep within our hearts and our consciences. There are issues beneath the violence and the protest that are causing deep rifts within our society, and they are impeding our ability to love one another and live together in civility and peace.
When we meet uncertainty and grief face to face, let’s refuse to offer critiques of others based on perception and stereotypes. Instead, let’s find ways to listen deeply to one another. It just might save a life.
Some may see the April 7 election results — by a slim margin, voters repealed the Springfield City Council decision to extend anti-discrimination protection to our gay and transgender neighbors — as a victory for Christians. After all, the repeal effort was led by a group called Christians Uniting for Political Action.
Anyone who sees it that way does not know the Christians that I know. Here’s what a church friend of mine — a married straight man who has spent the last several weeks making phone calls in support of LGBT non-discrimination — said in a Facebook post:
“Working this No Repeal campaign has been a joyous and dare I say a spiritual experience. I have met wonderful new friends and got reacquainted with old ones. I hope we all stay in touch for the rest of our lives.”
Indeed, this election provided a moment of liberation for many people of faith. [continue reading at the News-Leader]…
Celebrating Equality, Dignity & Love for All People
You Are Welcome Here
Each of these congregations (or their pastors) expressed explicit support for the No Repeal campaign. As this list shows, the number of welcoming pastors and churches continues to significantly grow here in Springfield!**
Non-Christian neighbors who are welcoming:
Temple Israel – A Jewish presence in the Ozarks
5910 S Farm Rd 193
Rogersville, MO 65742
**Note: If you would like to add a congregation to this list, please ask a member of the church leadership team to send an official email request to firstname.lastname@example.org stating that their congregation wishes to be listed on this website as an open and affirming congregation. We want to make sure church leadership wishes to be listed, as there are important and significant differences between being a welcoming church and being an affirming church. (There was some previous confusion regarding listed churches, so we are taking this extra precaution in order to honor the wishes of each church). Thank you for understanding.
Wondering how to talk to your children about racism? Or how to respond to racist comments and jokes? Then you might be interested in the work of the Greater Springfield Race & Faith Collaborative:
Over the last few months, those who’ve taken part in initiatives sponsored by the Greater Springfield Race and Faith Collaborative have had several opportunities to draw on resources in the online toolboxes designed to help participants reflect on the various ways that the continuing realities of race and racism affect us personally as well as in our relationships with family and friends.
Now, at the outset of the Third-Quarter initiatives sponsored by the Race & Faith Collaborative, we invite you to consider how we can enhance the relationships that we share with one another in our respective places of worship, business and community engagement. Together we can draw upon the best of our shared values as we work toward equality and dignity for all people in all aspects of life.
Here’s a very simple process for those who’d like to take the next step:
Instead of creating new materials to use as part of the Third-Quarter initiative, we would like to encourage participants to take the lead in one or more of the following action items within the context of their respective places of worship, business and community engagement. You can pick simple, moderate, or in-depth options (or a combination).
SIMPLE (requires little time and planning)
Option 1: Distribute the “Talking to Children about Racism” resources to parents and/or teachers of children and youth. These are ideal for religious education teams in local communities of faith as well as youth group leaders. Also consider posting them on your organization’s website and letting parents and teachers know where they can access them online.
MODERATE (requires a moderate amount of time and planning)
Option 1: Host a viewing of Patrick Mureithi’s DVD “Conversation Starters for Family & Friends” with a small group at your place of worship or business. You might consider hosting a dinner party at your house where friends and/or colleagues can view the DVD together.
Option 2 (for religious leaders): Encourage all the small groups in your respective place of worship (i.e. Sunday school classes, Wednesday night groups, etc.) to devote one session (or, even better, an entire series) to the “25 Things Your Congregation Can Do To Affirm Diversity and Challenge Racism”.
Option 3 (for clergy): Develop and share at least one sermon, reflection or homily devoted to the importance of diversity and equality within your respective religious tradition. Consider leading a special series on the same topic by drawing on the resources available in the “Clergy Toolkit”.
IN-DEPTH (requires a significant amount of time and planning)
Working toward institutional change
• Visit this website to research how your organization can take positive steps toward the pursuit of dignity and equality for all people and begin asking the following questions:
1. Why should we talk about race in my organization?
2. Does race have anything to do with my organization’s purpose and values?
3. Why is it not enough to say, “I’m not prejudiced?”
4. Would my organization and the families we work with be better served if we became an anti-racist, multi-cultural organization? If so, how?
5. What does an anti-racist, multi-cultural organization look like?
• Consider partnering with a trained organization that can help lead your organization through the process of becoming a place that strives for the dignity and equality of all people. The leaders of the Race and Faith Collaborative are happy to provide recommendations of organizations/trained diversity leaders with whom your organization can partner.
• Understand that the work of becoming an organization that moves forward in its goals of striving for the dignity and equality of all people is difficult. It can be full of challenges and struggles. Yet it is also full of great rewards. For encouragment and inspiration, stay connected with other leaders and organizations that are dedicated to the same goals. Together we can do great things and we will be proud to look back together with a profound sense of gratitude for all that we accomplish in the name of dignity and equality.
The Interfaith Alliance of the Ozarks has announced that those who wish to stand in solidarity with our Jewish sisters and brothers following the tragic and senseless acts of violence that took place yesterday in Kansas City are invited to gather outside of Temple Israel this evening as participants from the synagogue gather for the Passover Seder, which begins at 6pm. Those wishing to stand in solidarity with their Jewish sisters and brothers are invited to meet outside of Temple Israel at 5:45pm and stay until about 6:15pm.
Temple Israel is located at 5910 S Farm Road 193, Rogersville, MO 65742.