What am I signing up for?
How did this Training come to be?
Tell Me the Truth About Racism began as a pilot program between the congregations of St. Chrysostom’s Chicago and St. Christopher’s Oak Park in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. The former is found in Chicago’s dense Gold Coast neighborhood but draws parishioners from around the city. The latter is found in a near west suburb of Chicago amid a walkable residential community. Both congregations are predominantly white and affluent, but otherwise have unique characters. Families in both congregations have displayed surprisingly high enthusiasm for the brand new class introducing the difficult history of racism to children during the 2021 Lenten season. Over 30 children from 20 families participated in nearly every session. The effort was shepherded by the parishes’ directors of children’s ministries, Jennifer Holt Enriquez and William Bouvel. Learn more about them here.
Aren't Kids too little to learn about racism?
Theologically, this approach frames racism as systemic sin which distorts the image of God in every person and in ourselves. To capture this in children’s language we emphasize that racism tells us a "lie" about who we really are. Tell Me the Truth About racism counters this lie with the Truth Christians know, that every person, in all their uniqueness, is equally loved and cherished by God. Unfortunately that is not what centuries of Christian influence have demonstrated. Deliberate and incremental lies were told by some to create and maintain a perceived advantage over others. Only God’s Truth can give perspective to recognize racism as a lie and to anchor the work to dismantle it. The heart of this work is to Tell the Truth about that painful story and to give room to wonder, grieve, notice where God was, and notice where God is now.