Anyone who has stood in front of a group to speak knows the importance of preparation. Facilitating anti-racism sessions are no different. Planning to facilitate group learning about dismantling systemic racism can be a daunting task that requires passion, patience, and good collaborative partnerships to establish a solid grounding in the subject.
Our Church has intentionally addressed the sin of racism for more than 50 years with much of that activity directed by Reconciliation Ministry through training events. Reconciliation Ministry, funded almost exclusively through the Reconciliation Offering, is always looking for ways to expand its ability to resource the Church on the journey to dismantle racism.
Reconciliation Minister April Johnson said, “Events in the United States have highlighted the importance of the ministry of reconciliation. Ten years ago, at our peak, we were facilitating five to seven anti-racism events annually. Today, on average, we facilitate that many events monthly. We have made much progress in changing hearts, minds, and practices. We have very far to go. Building capacity by adding to the number of trainers and the types of training available are critical needs right now.”
This fall, Lexington Theological Seminary and Reconciliation Ministry partnered to offer a two-week online course to train new trainers to effectively lead anti-racism workshops. As more and more regions and ministries require anti-racism training as part of their leadership development objectives, these facilitators are in great demand. Enrollment for the course entitled, Facilitating Our Reconciliation: Facilitation Skills for Anti-Racism Trainers, reached capacity within 48 hours of its announcement.
Participants are engaging historical and systems analysis and instructional facilitation methods in this new two-week online program. At the end of the course, 22 new trainers will be added to our capacity.
Through the power of partnership and the generosity of Lexington Theological Seminary, this online opportunity is providing flexibility in our capacity to resource our congregations and leaders for pertinent ministry. “I’m excited about the possibilities presented with this model of an online train-the-trainer offering,” Johnson said. “We are learning what works in this setting and how we might build on this success.”