CANTON—First Congregational United Church of Christ of Canton will be hosting a Sacred Conversation on Race Sunday, April 15, at 2 p.m. at the church, 159 North Second Avenue, Canton.

CANTON—First Congregational United Church of Christ of Canton will be hosting a Sacred Conversation on Race Sunday, April 15, at 2 p.m. at the church, 159 North Second Avenue, Canton.

 

The “Black and White Together: God With Us” conversation at the church is an adult education forum designed around shared spiritual autobiographies of congregation members and guest speakers, with discussions on various aspects of white privilege. The event will be hosted by Rev. Sue Harrington, pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ, and Timothy Collins, a congregation member. It is free and open to the public and child care is available.

 

The event will feature two visitors from Greenville, N.C., who have been successful in the face of racial discrimination and white privilege dating back to their childhoods in the South. Mark S. Woodson, president of the Five Prime Media Group, is the first speaker that day. He also is an on-air host for a gospel show and various information programs, including an ESPN show on radio stations in eastern North Carolina. Woodson began his career with national telecommunications providers AT&T and Lucent Technologies, developing expertise in marketing, business management, and customer education and training. Both his electrical engineering technology degree and his religious studies degree are from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His Master of Business Administration is from UNC-Greensboro and he has a Master’s Certification in Project Management from George Washington University.

 

The second speaker is Sam Barber, retired university professor and choral conductor. He is a well-known expert on the Wings Over Jordan Choir that appeared on CBS Radio during the 1930s and 1940s. Barber was born on a farm near Trenton, N.C., and graduated from Howard University School of Music, Washington, D.C.; the Roosevelt University School of Music, Washington, D.C.; the Roosevelt University Conservatory of Music, Chicago, IL; and the University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College Conservatory of Music. He is the author of a Greenville, N.C., local history, “A Journey to Purchasing And Naming The Brown Hill Cemetery.” Barber is currently working on a book, “Go Down Moses: The Wings Over Jordan Choir.”

 

The topic of white privilege may seem remote to many of us in west central Illinois. The purpose of the Sacred Conversation on Race is to help our congregation and surrounding faith communities grow in understanding that our wider traditions of white privilege damage our relationship with God and with each other, even in a predominantly white community and region.

 

Material for the curriculum have been adapted from a recently issued United Church of Christ program, “White Privilege: Let’s Talk. A Resource for Transformational Dialogue.”

 

For additional information or for a ride, call the First Congregational UCC church at 647-0271.