Racial Healing Task Group

Links

Undoing Racism Principles and Questions, a guide for creating healthy groups and gatherings

Racial Healing in the Church, an overview of MC USA’s commitment to anti-racism, featured in The Mennonite

The Aha Moment, perspectives on racial healing from a person of color, featured in The Mennonite

Giving Up Veto Power, perspectives on racial healing from a white person, featured in The Mennonite

Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist, Multi-Cultural Institution, featured in The Mennonite

Task Group Members, 2010 – 2012

Check us out on facebook!

Available resources

  • PowerPoint Toolkit
  • Racial Healing Vignettes
  • “I’s of Oppression” diagram
  • Nested Model for Restorative Justice
  • Suggested reading materials

To request any of the above resources, please be in touch with Joanna Shenk.

Contact information:

Joanna Shenk, Mennonite Church USA staff
joannas [at] mennoniteusa.org

574.523.3055 or toll-free, 1.866.866.2872 ext. 23055

What is the Racial Healing Task Group (RHTG)?

The idea for the RHTG came from a Constituency Leaders Council meeting in October 2008. With the blessing of Racial/Ethnic church leaders and the affirmation of the Columbus 2009 delegates, the RHTG was formed in March 2010 to work at churchwide anti-racism and racial healing initiatives. The group is accountable to the Intercultural Relations Reference Committee and the Executive Board.

What does the RHTG do?

The group’s purpose is to help the dominant white culture of Mennonite Church USA articulate and take ownership of ongoing systemic and personal racism within the church as a beginning step for spiritual transformation. By using a restorative justice approach, the hope is to bring wholeness and racial healing to the church.

Who makes up the RHTG?

The group is made up of Mennonites from across the country who are knowledgeable about restorative justice approaches to reconciliation. In order for people of the dominant culture to take ownership of the work of racial healing—rather than depending on persons of color to educate the church about racism —all members of the RHTG are white.

What is meant by ‘dominant culture?’

White Mennonites do not generally think of themselves as “dominant”, especially in light of the history of Anabaptist-Mennonite persecution. Because no one intends to be hurtful, it can be difficult to recognize the ways individuals and the church can perpetuate racism. Becoming anti-racist is not just about improving personal relationships; it is about changing a system that is set up to benefit some and devalue others. Although it is uncomfortable to acknowledge that this system of privilege exists within the U.S. and the church, the work of the RHTG can help Mennonite Church USA identify and change patterns.

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