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Colour-coded: Decolonising Hearts, Minds and Spirits


April 21 – April 22, 2017

Colour-coded: Decolonising Hearts, Minds and Spirits

April 21-22, 2017
5:30-9 PM; 9 AM-4:30 PM

Cummer Ave United Church, Toronto, ON

Click here to register.

A one and a half-day workshop on race and racism for people who are coming from a church background and keen to look at this reality through the lens of faith and scripture. The purpose of the training is to raise awareness of racism – out there in the societies and tribes of which we are a part and in here inside of each of us: our conditionings, its constructs and its contours; the ways in which it is perpetuated and expressed in ways that are obvious to subtle-invisible, in macro- to micro-aggressions, its various histories, its social, political, cultural, religious, economic manifestations. What does it look like, sound like, feel like? What is my role in facilitating it or disrupting it? In gracious ways, we will learn to uncover and then interrupt unconscious bias and uninterrogated social location. For people of white privilege, we will explore what it means to be an ally.

Through intentional listening and play-based learning, we will meet one another and ourselves, using the tools of conflict transformation and non-violent/collaborative communication. Rather than issue-based, those skills that are imparted in the training are then applied as part of the training: what does this mean in the context of the national convulsion that was the Truth & Reconciliation Commission and its 94 Calls to Action? What does this all mean in the context of police brutality against racialised youth and adults and the response that is Black Lives Matter? How do we respond to the Québec City massacre of Muslims at worship? Where do I locate myself in these narratives? What do they mean to me and my vocation as activist/ally? What actions can I take?

We will begin with the Friday evening after a light supper, getting to know one another and laying the groundwork for the rest of the workshop, ending with a closing liturgy. Saturday will include telling stories, building awareness of self and ‘other’ through experiential learning exercises, film clips, role plays and small group discussions. The day will end with a closing reflection and a covenanting amongst the participants. For those able to stay for the optional Sunday morning portion of the workshop, we will have an open-ended sharing of our experiences and learning and together prepare a service of worship that will include songs and prayers.
The training will be staffed by the Rev’d Lee Ann McKenna, Executive Director of Partera International, and the Rev’d Michael Blair, Executive Minister, Church in Mission, United Church of Canada, as well as Elder Renée Hill Thomas, Turtle Clan, of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and member of the Living into Right Relations Circle of Toronto Conference, United Church of Canada.  Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America Executive Director, the Rev’d LeDayne McLeese Polaski will be participating, as well.

As Christians, we will search our past, our present and our scriptures for a past in need of repenting, for liberative readings of ancient texts and new ways of being conscious church in the global village. Through liturgies, prayers and songs, all of our learnings – head, heart, feet and soul – will be multiplied by the Spirit.

Click here for a flier to share (prints 8.5 x 14).

Location Information

Cummer Ave United Church
53 Cummer Ave
Toronto, ON

Contact Information

LeDayne McLeese Polaski
[email protected]

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