Starting January 31, ChurchNext, an offering of Forward Movement, will provide a new online curriculum, “Becoming Beloved Community: Understanding Systemic Racism.” The course is available for individuals and groups at no charge. Individuals and groups can register for the course any time at churchnext.tv.
Designed for study over a period of six weeks, the curriculum explores how systemic racism has been integrated into U.S. culture from the very beginning, as well as The Episcopal Church’s history of active participation in systemic racism. The curriculum offers guidance on learning from this history and building toward what The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop Michael Curry describes as “the Beloved Community of God.”
The course is led by two experts on the topic of system racism and the church: Dr. Ivy Forsythe-Brown, associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and the Rev. Dr. Thomas Ferguson, affiliate professor of church history at Bexley-Seabury Seminary and rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sandwich, Massachusetts.
“When Jesus is raised from the dead, he calls us into a new way of being, and Jesus calls us into this process of transformation,” says Dr. Ferguson. “Part of this course will be looking back and reflection, but a significant component of this course is looking at our present and at our future. The curriculum invites us into a process of transformation so we can build a better world and walk the Way of Love, as our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry calls us to.”
The curriculum is available in formats for Individuals (for individual, online use) and for Groups (for use by congregations and other groups in community). Each of the six sessions include half-hour videos, optional self-assessments, opportunities for discussion, take-home materials, and recommendations for further research. The Groups curriculum includes a Facilitator’s Guide that makes it easy for anyone to lead the course and a Participant’s Guide that includes all materials each participant will need to learn from and discuss the videos.
The Individuals course may be taken at each learner’s preferred pace, while the Groups sessions should each take about 60 minutes. The courses require no special equipment or software.
The course is funded by the grants from Episcopal Church’s Presiding Officers’ Advisory Council on Becoming Beloved Community, the Diocese of Michigan and Forward Movement.
Chris Yaw, ChurchNext Founder
Liz Brignac, Sr. Producer
ChurchNext is an offering of Forward Movement and provides online Christian learning experiences that help shape disciples and evangelists.