WHAT IS THE SACRED GROUND RACE DIALOGUE SERIES?
- Sacred Ground is a sensitive, prayerful resource that creates space for difficult but respectful and transformative dialogue on race and racism.
- It invites participants to walk back through history in order to peel away the layers that brought us to today, reflecting on family histories and stories, as well as important narratives that shape the collective American story.
- It holds as a guiding star the vision of beloved community – where all people are honored and protected and nurtured as beloved children of God, where we weep at one another’s pain and seek one another’s flourishing.
WHAT IS A DIALOGUE CIRCLE?
The invitation is to form a dialogue circle or circles in your congregation that would meet for 10 sessions to engage with the films, videos, written materials, and each other – a study group essentially. Please arrange for a designated facilitator, co-facilitators, or rotating facilitators. When there are distance constraints, you can consider holding virtual circles.
HOW OFTEN DO WE MEET?
The frequency of sessions can be according to your group’s needs. Recommended: Every two or three weeks (weekly would be too dense, monthly might be too infrequent).
WHAT IS IN THE CURRICULUM?
- A set of documentary films and short videos, available for free to registered dialogue groups via streaming in a password-protected area on this site;
- A set of readings, also available for free to registered dialogue groups as PDFs in a password-protected area on this site (Note: Participants will also need to acquire or borrow two assigned books);
- The Sacred Ground Study Guide, with suggestions for getting started, tips for facilitators, a session-by-session curriculum with reflections on key themes, and a religious resources section;
- Periodic webinars to support dialogue circle organizers and facilitators and to build a learning community. Stay tuned here.
WHO CREATED SACRED GROUND AND WHY?
The dialogue series developer and author is Katrina Browne, producer/director of the documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North. Browne is a lifelong Episcopalian who is dedicated to racial justice and healing. As a white woman, she is particularly concerned with the important work white people need to do in conversation with each other, as part of the larger project of Becoming Beloved Community.
“I’m excited to share some powerful, thought-provoking films and readings with groups eager to take next steps on this collective journey,” Browne says. “I’m convinced that dialogue – especially among white people – can be a key healthy step in the long journey to transformation.”
Browne engaged a diverse group of advisors and reviewers to guide the process.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?
- This resource is designed for use by Episcopal congregations and other Episcopal entities across the United States.
- It can work as part of a host of justice or formation ministries in a church. Episcopal congregations are also welcome to invite others in their community, such as neighboring churches or civic groups, to join dialogue circles. Because of copyright restrictions, however, the official registering congregation must be Episcopal.
- Because of the focus on U.S. history, Sacred Ground may prove less relevant for dioceses outside the United States.
HOW SHOULD WE ORGANIZE A GROUP?
Leaders should prayerfully, carefully discern the composition of dialogue groups from among the options below. Extensive guidelines are in the Getting Started documents.
- White affinity groups: Gather white people to build a strong foundation for later/ongoing interracial conversation and action. This is especially important for white people who are learning to open up dialogue about racial identity and racism with other white people.
- Interracial groups: Gather a racially diverse group if all group members have done significant prior work on racial healing and justice.
- Interracial groups with affinity breakouts: A mixture of the two, with space for honest sharing in affinity circles but also for interracial exchange. Participation in this version of a dialogue group still requires some degree of prior work on racial healing and justice.
WHEN CAN WE START?
Any time! The series is not tied to the Church calendar, so it can be adopted at any time of year. Walking this labyrinth is a lifelong spiritual journey. Come to learn, share, and grow into beloved community.
HOW DO WE ACCESS THE CURRICULUM?
If after reading the “Getting Started” documents, your congregation (or other Episcopal entity) decides to organize a dialogue circle, then you simply need to register the circle (or circles), and you will receive an email with a link and password. Registration details and form are here.