This past Friday marked the first of four sessions in our Becoming Together: Toward the Beloved Community study led by Rev. Simon Park. During a time where many are coming together to fight for justice for black people in Canada and the United States, it is important that we understand our role as a church and community in anti-black racism. Through delving into Saint Paul’s letters and exploring the discrimination faced by the Galatians, we can better learn about this and reflect on our responsibility.
During the first session, members of our ESM congregation were enlightened on the history of the Galatians, the concept of model minorities, and the white normativity we see in society today. We then split off into groups, discussing our place in society and the way we’ve lived our lives up to now. Has survival within the white normative system been your main focus? Have you perhaps experienced being part of this model minority?
Many shared their life stories and experiences of immigrating or growing up in Canada. It was a very honest time of reflection where we looked at the racism we have faced ourselves and the impact being a visible minority has had towards our confidence and identities. A lot of our members felt peace in their identities of being children of God, however, as it gave the freedom to be okay with oneself. They were reassured by His love.
There were a lot of thoughts and questions that arose on the topics brought up during the study, as well. The way we have been affected by our struggle to survive in society, the strong identity we now lack after being shaped by society, and our perspective towards our friends who are struggling just like us. There were questions about understanding the content better and trying to empathize with the Galatians, as well as what we can do with the unique position we have as model minorities. How do we uplift those around us instead of trying to mirror the way those with “power” govern our lives?
In the next three weeks, we will be working towards answering the following questions: What is true freedom? What is new creation? What is the gospel for us, and what is perversion of this gospel? What are the implications of this message for us? We encourage you to join us on this path to insight and enlightenment.
See you next Friday!