The new year calls on us to bring fresh eyes to our consideration of race in our community.

We encourage all congregation members and friends to engage in the Anti-Racism Project at Third Church. For the next few months, each Thursday Update will feature an article, video, or podcast for your discernment on your individual journey toward becoming antiracist. We begin with our call to action, the Preamble from Third Church’s Anti-Racism Project.

Preamble: This is a seminal moment.  After 400 years of white supremacy in the US, the horrific impact of the coronavirus with the unacceptably high death and infection rates in communities of color, the televised suffocation and murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Officers, and the Depression level rates of unemployment in communities of color, the accumulated pain and anguish of people of color is spilling into the streets around the world.  Decades of our congregation’s efforts position us to respond positively to calls from Black and Brown leaders in our community for significant changes in the community to end systemic racism.

Third Church already aims to remove aspects of structural racism in many ways. This seminal moment, starting with listening and learning, is a time of examination that is necessary to identify deficits and seek to bridge gaps. Not only are we called to ultimately remove structural racism; we have the capacity and capability to integrate improvements to our current worthwhile ministries.

Third Church’s work in housing and homelessness (Habitat, RAIHN), food insecurity and hunger (Dining Room Ministry, Food Cupboard), neighborhood insecure infrastructure (ROC SALT), education disparities (Tutoring, Great Schools for All), and experience in intersectionalities and how systemic change can work (More Light) each pave the way toward opening our congregation to a process of discernment.

Third Presbyterian Church endorses the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group’s “Racism is a Public Health Crisis” Declaration and pledges to work in partnership with all sectors of the community to counter structural systemic racism.

We understand that, as a church with a mostly white congregation with all the privileges that entails, we have much learning and listening to do, in order to shape future actions.  We make the following promises to ourselves and our community:

  1. to more aggressively confront racism, and
  2. to seek advice from those whose lived experiences are different from most of ours, and
  3. to take action to become effective allies in the fight against individual and systemic racism, and
  4. to work collectively to reimagine and rebuild our community.

Additional Actions This Week:

View Professor john a. powell’s talk The Invention of Whiteness (5 minutes) and reflect on when you first became aware of race.

Calling all physicians, nurses, EMTs, therapists, and healthcare workers to attend some part of Action for A Better Community’s 3-day Event in January, Attacking the Two Pandemics. Thursdays, January 14, 21, and 28. Our own Brad Rye will kick off each day with Jerome Underwood. Dozens of speakers are on the event’s schedule. Choose to attend one panel, an entire day, or all three days. Continuing education credits are available. Scholarships to attend are also available. (for more information , email elaidlaw60@gmail.com)