All this week I have been bookmarking articles and resources that have appeared on my news feeds and social media. I wanted to share a curated list of materials that Christian educators and families can use as we attempt to move forward in constructive ways following the neo-nazi and white supremacist violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday, August 11, 2017.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry released a video message this afternoon to respond to the continuing rhetoric, violence, and outrage that continues to fester. He asks, “Where do we go from here?” Do we feed chaos or do we build community? He acknowledges the work that is ahead of us, but reminds us that we do have a way – and The Way is to follow Jesus. That is the work that remains ahead of us.
So, I am called to return to my liturgical tradition to see what resources might inform our current times, knowing that there is more to be done than reading a book or teaching a Sunday School lesson.
Bishop Curry points us to this Sunday’s lectionary readings for Proper 15, the 11th Sunday after Pentecost. My other website, The Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education, offers some reflections and questions on the readings. At the time I wrote it, I was thinking about immigration. But it applies to any who is an outcast––then and now. And a piece from the Gospel jumps out at me: “…it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” (Matthew 15:11)
Earlier this week, I was asked if I knew of any lesson plans to use with children about Jonathan Myrick Daniels, a young seminarian who was martyred during the Civil Rights movement (and whose feast day happened to be on August 14). I searched through my curriculum files and was pleased to remember that yes, Church Publishing did have some lesson plans from the Weaving God’s Promises curriculum for children and youth. And CPI agreed that we should make these lessons available. Two lessons are available here, with both available for children (ages 3-11) written by the Rev. Canon Joanna Leiserson and youth (ages 12-14) written by Doris Plourde Ash:
Men Who Struggled for Justice: Absalom Jones, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jonathan Myrick Daniels
Women Who Struggled for Freedom: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Ross Tubman
In addition to these resources, here are a few others that I felt rose to the top:
- Becoming Beloved Community Where You Are A Resource for Individuals, Congregations, and Communities from The Episcopal Church
- A Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves was compiled and shared by Shannon Ferguson Kelly, the Missioner for Young Adults & Campus Ministries of The Episcopal Church
- How To Talk to Children About Race from Kids & Race: Changing the Narrative
- For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies from Sojourners
- Teaching Tolerance is an initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center and is always a go-to place for resources on LBGTQ inclusion, bullying, racism, and discrimination
- Raising Race Conscious Children is a site that offers a multitude of articles and suggestions for talking about race with young children