Submitted by Rev. John Mobley, regional minister for Alabama/Northwest Florida
Approximately 45 Disciples leaders (clergy and lay) from all across the southeastern United States gathered at Brookhaven Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia, for a two-day “Train the Trainers” event on May 3-4. All of the eight regions included in the Southeast Regional Fellowship (SERF) were represented in this collaborative effort to train leaders who will provide pro-reconciliation/anti-racism training in their respective regions. Members of anti-racism teams and regional officers and staff from the regions of Alabama-Northwest Florida, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia came together to worship, learn, and be mentored in developing their capacities for offering meaningful training events.
Leadership for the “Training the Trainers” event was provided by Rev. Carolyn Foster and Rev. Tom Osborne, both of whom are ordained deacons who serve in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama and who have provided leadership at dozens of training events over the past 18 years. These co-leaders provided basic introductory anti-racism training, they shared resources both from the “Seeing the Face of God in Each Other” curriculum and from other sources, and they mentored participants who were given opportunities to practice leading other participants in various sessions that are foundational to anti-racism training.
The need for this “Train the Trainers” event had been identified in the SERF Collaboration Events that have taken place over weekends at Christmount for the past two winters. The SERF collaboration events have been held to identify and maximize the gifts that are available within the geographies of these eight regions and to collaborate in sharing those resources within the entirety of SERF. These SERF collaboration events were made possible through grants from the Oreon E. Scott Foundation. The “Train the Trainers” event is only one tangible expression of collaboration within SERF. Other events are in the planning stages, including a large leadership development event in the late summer of 2020.