Looking for Congregations to Unite for Racial Justice

Looking for Congregations to Unite for Racial Justice

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The First Church of Christ in Middletown (CT) Racial Justice Team is hoping to collaborate with other UCC churches in our region who have a similar interest in addressing issues of racism: within ourselves, within our churches, and within our communities. Racial Justice touches the very core of our theological identity, shared faith, and witness as a Christian congregation.
 
We've engaged in a variety of racial justice activities, and we've learned some important things. As a historically white church, we have found that the most crucial work we need to do has been to look within ourselves for how we can change our own habits and thought processes to cause less harm to people of color. We've engaged in book groups with a strong focus on discussion, we share one article or video each week with our congregation through our electronic newsletter, and we are reaching out to the SNE Conference for additional guidance in this area. We've both tiptoed around and addressed issues that “rocked the boat” within our church regarding race-related issues. We want to get better at addressing them.
 
We've also learned the power of making connections with various groups in our community, the city of Middletown. We've collaborated with the Middlesex County Historical Society and a couple of the Black churches to put on the First, Second, and Third (so far!) Annual Middle Passage and Port Marker Ceremony to commemorate the personhood and sacrifices of the Africans who were kidnapped and brought to our Middletown harbor to be enslaved. We collaborated with the Greater Middlesex NAACP to Get Out the Vote in Middletown during the 2020 election, registering voters as well as sharing information about absentee voting and precinct data. We worked alongside members of the Middletown Police force, the NAACP and NAACP Youth, and community healthcare workers to distribute masks, hand sanitizer, and safety information to Middletown residents who were at higher risk of contracting COVID. We are allies of the CT- ACLU Smart Justice Campaign, working to bring equity and respect to formerly incarcerated people and to influence our elected officials in passing aligned legislation.
 
Our current activity is working with The Witness Stones Project to honor and commemorate the lives of two First Church members from the 1700s. Jenny was a woman who was enslaved by the First Church minister, Enoch Huntington. Her husband, Mark, was a free man. Their stones will be dedicated together in May. There will be three workshops prior to that dedication when we will learn about the period of slavery in Middletown and Connecticut, the lives of Jenny and Mark, and be able to discuss what we're learning and how this history reverberates all around us today.
 
Would you like to join us in our work towards racial justice in our churches and communities? We look forward to partnering and collaborating with individuals, groups, or entire churches as we continue to learn and grow together.

Please contact: firstchurchucc@sbcglobal.net or 860-346-6657

Ann Percival is a member of the Racial Justice Team at First Church in Middletown
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