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Every denomination needs one of these...

A healthy discussion on race

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Not all "conversations on race" this past Sunday reflected the ugly race baiting exhibited by UCC President John Thomas. Some, in fact, were simply beautiful. From the Reading Eagle:
The Rev. Debra Hepburn, who is black and from the Pentecostal tradition, was asked by the church’s pastor to engage the congregants in what the UCC calls a “sacred conversation” about race.

In the impassioned and powerful cadences associated with black spiritual traditions, Hepburn spoke to the small, white congregation at the Brecknock Township church about the meaning of sacred conversation.

She was accompanied by Sister Bernice Greene, a gospel recording artist from Bethlehem who performed two solos in a traditional style.

“The sacred conversation is not between you and me, but between us and the divine one,” said Hepburn, who is ecumenical director for the Lehigh County Conference of Churches.

She spoke of how the sacred conversation should inform conversations between people who have differences.

Hepburn told a story about dealing with severe racial intimidation aimed at her 16-year-old son, who is a student at Liberty High School in Bethlehem.

“My husband and I went to God and prayed as to how we could touch the lives of the parents whose son had perpetrated horrible things against our child,” she said.

The couple opted to meet with the perpetrator’s family, Hepburn said, using independent mediation.

“We met last Sunday for three hours, and we talked about hard journeys from both ways,” she said. “And we left the room with peace and resolutions that everyone could live with.”

Hepburn urged her listeners to be what God intended them to be.

“Our natural course is to be loving,” she said.
I was emailed this article from someone who attended the sermon and called it sincere and moving. We are fortunate as a denomination that our local churches can see past the failings and agendas of the national office to do some really great work. My church didn't participate in the discussion on race this past week, but if it had, I would hope it would have been as good as the one started by Alleghenyville United Church of Christ.
posted by UCCtruths, Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Inspired, excited, convicted.
Thanks, James.
The realization that a sacred conversation of course means a conversation with God is perfect for this week's lectionary and a sermon titled "Sacred or Scared?".
commented by Blogger Don Niederfrank, 8:10 AM  
Rev. Hepburn preached in my congregation last fall(accompanied by the gifted Bernice's musical talents), and she was as refreshing as a cool spring rain. Her insight and depth brought the Word of grace to folks who usually sit quietly during a sermon. The whole experience was incredible.
A sacred conversation on race? Yes, on the HUMAN race. God is good.. all the time!
If you live in the Lehigh Valley, do get in touch with the Lehigh County Conference of Churches. They are a wellspring of God's grace in a world of dry bones. DEborah Hepburn is a tremendous gift to the community.
commented by Blogger sage1, 8:52 PM  

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