Like the country we live in, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has suffered from the sin of racism throughout its history, and Disciples of color continue to be impacted by the devastation of this sin. From the beginnings of the Campbell Stone movement, both free and enslaved people joined. However, the opportunities were not equal. Congregations and clergy of color did not get the same opportunities and support.
After the death of Martin Luther King, Jr in 1968, the Reconciliation Ministry was formed. The work accelerated in 1996 when the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) approve the formation of a church-wide process to discern the nature of racism and develop ways to support congregations address racism.
“Racism is a spiritual and theological dilemma as well as a social evil.”
– Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Soon after Dr. Christal Williams was called as President and Regional Minister, the Tennessee region formed a Pro Reconciling Anti-Racism Commission (PRAR). Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings and Rev. Jay Hartley chaired the commission as it began, gathering leaders to serve from across the region. The region made the commitment to require Pro Reconciling Anti-Racism training for all clergy. Drawing help from experts within and outside the Disciples, the commission created a one-day training program.
Today, the PRAR Commission remains committed to educating both clergy and laity members. Planning is underway to expand opportunities for meaningful, multicultural conversations about racism across the region.