Summer Colloquium

Beloved Community:The Church's Call to Racial Justice

Sunday, June 3, 10, 17, and 24
10:15–11:15 am, during Middle Hour
Gym, Westminster Hall

Throughout Scripture and history, God has called God's people to participate in the creation of the Beloved Community, breaking down barriers, seeking justice, and transforming hearts and systems.

Join First Pres community members and guest speakers as we explore God's Beloved Community and our call to share in its creation in our own context and communities.

"The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men." Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957


Date Topic and Speaker
June 3

Hearing the Hearts of the First Pres Community
Community Voices: Mary Chan, Miguel G. Lopez, John Lyzenga, Jacqueline Mowat, Mindy Phillips
Click here to listen to this session.
June 10

Reconciliation and the Beloved Community
Guest Speaker: Rev. Sandhya Jha
Founder and Director of the Oakland Peace Center
Community Voices: Leah Tang
Click here to listen to this session.
June 17

Redemption and the Beloved Community
Guest Speaker: Rev. Floyd Thompkins
Director of the Center for Innovation in Ministry, San Francisco Theological Seminary
Community Voices: Ruth and Vent Traylor
Click here to listen to this session.
June 24

God's Creation of the Beloved Community
Guest Speaker: Rev. Mary Ellen Azada
Executive Director of Call Discernment, Fuller Theological Seminary
Community Voices: Paul Yeager
Click here to listen to this session.

Events to continue our dialogue and discernment in community:

We also held Community Conversations to debrief the All Church Conference and Summer Colloquium themes related to racial justice on July 15, and to discuss next steps for how First Pres may move ahead in our engagement with racial justice on July 29.

Resources on the Church and Racial Justice

Click here to download this resource list.  To listen to 2018 ACC speaker Sandra Van Opstal, visit Audio Library under ACC 2018. 

1. The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Social Change By Brenda Salter-McNeil and Rick Richardson.

    Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice By Brenda Salter-McNeil.

Brenda Salter-McNeil, pastor, speaker and author has worked in this area for decades giving talks and writing about racial reconciliation. Any book by Brenda will give practical guidelines on how to live a community of justice. She is currently serving as Associate Professor of reconciliation studies in the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University. She was part of Project Peace’s Speaker Series in Oakland.

2. Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times By Soong-Chan Rah.

    Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church By Soong-Chan Rah.

    The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity By Soong-Chan Rah.

First Pres has met Soong-Chan Rah through the All Church Conference. He does a thorough scriptural analysis and exegesis. He also shares his personal reflections as a Korean-American Christian.

3. Diversity Matters: Race, Ethnicity and the Future of Christian Higher Education Edited by: Allison N. Ash & Alexander Jun, Kathy-Ann Hernandez, Rebecca Hernandez, Michelle Loyd-Paige, Pete Menjares, and general editor, Karen A. Longman.

This is written by those connected with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (a global higher education association of more than 180 Christian institutions) and deals with issues of higher education and race.

4. Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores By Dominique Dubois Gilliard.

Dominique DuBois Gilliard is the director of racial righteousness and reconciliation for the Love Mercy Do Justice (LMDJ) initiative of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). An ordained minister, Gilliard has served in pastoral ministry in Atlanta, Chicago, and Oakland. He was executive pastor of New Hope Covenant Church in Oakland, California and also served in Oakland as the associate pastor of Convergence Covenant Church. He was also the campus minister at North Park University and the racial righteousness director for ECC’s ministry initiatives in the Pacific Southwest Conference.

5. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race By Beverly Daniel Tatum

Recommended by All Church Conference speaker, Sandra Van Opstal.

From Amazon: Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious. This fully revised edition is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America.

6. I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness By Austin Channing Brown

From Amazon: …For readers who have engaged with America's legacy on race through the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michael Eric Dyson, I'm Still Here is an illuminating look at how white, middle-class, Evangelicalism has participated in an era of rising racial hostility, inviting the reader to confront apathy, recognize God's ongoing work in the world, and discover how blackness--if we let it--can save us all…Austin Channing Brown's first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, "I had to learn what it means to love blackness," a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America's racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion.In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value "diversity" in their mission statements, I'm Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America's social fabric--from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.

7. Conversing with Mark Labberton

    Conversation with Dr. Willie Jennings

Listen to this podcast with president of Fuller Seminary, Mark Labberton and Dr. Willie Jennings, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at Yale Divinity School. Dr. Jennings is an ordained Baptist minister, Calvin College graduate and received his MDiv from Fuller Seminary. His Ph.D in religion and ethics is from Duke. There are also recordings of the whole race conference by other speakers. This is a deep dive about racism in the U.S. Dr. Jennings was one of our speakers at the Global Church Conference.

8. Fuller Dialogues: On Race and Identity

This is a conference on race. If you can listen to this entire conference, you will receive an in-depth understanding on this subject. Andrea Smith and Willie Jennings are particularly recommended.

9. Micah Group Training on Race, DOING JUSTICE Curriculum Edited by: Tim Dearborn and Hak Joon Lee

Email Jennifer Ackerman at for more information.

From Jennifer Ackerman: The Church is called to bring the rich spiritual and moral resources of the Kingdom of God to bear upon complex ethical and justice issues. However, it is far more common for individual responses to be shaped most by particular ideologies and media-driven voices, rather than by the worship and preaching life of congregations. Doing Justice is an opportunity for biblical and theological reflection around various Christian responses to twelve of today’s most pressing social issues: Racism, Immigration, Gun Violence, Environment, Income Inequality, Public Education, Urban Renewal, Health Care, Violence against Women, Social Media, Disabilities to Differences, and Criminal Justice.

By wrestling with our understanding of different Christian approaches to these complex ethical issues, we can lead churches into becoming safe and courageous places to examine God’s will and ways regarding the pressing social concerns of our world. The goal is that by examining the range of responses, and understanding why people hold particular positions, we will have insight into how to guide our churches in worship, preaching, and justice.

10. Starbucks Training on Racial Bias