Progress and Opportunities in Our Ongoing Quest to Become an Anti-Racist Congregation

Third Church has made an anti-racism pledge:


  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.

We undertake this pledge as individuals, as committees and groups, and as a whole congregation. Our challenge is to listen to, to walk alongside, and to support people of color through our faith communities. Third Church has made progress toward the pledge, and has many opportunities for continued growth.

As individuals (with the help of church groups), we have:

  • Marched in protests
  • Read many books and articles
  • Listened to podcasts, watched videos
  • Participated in small group series
  • Learned through several antiracism-focused Sunday Seminars
  • Donated grocery bags to Memorial AME Zion Church’s food program
  • Donated to Black Lives Matter organizations
  • Participated in RocACTS task forces and on the RocACTS Board
  • Took United Way’s Community Challenge to Interrupt Racism

Where we see opportunity: 

  • Building relationships through one-on-one conversations with each other and with members of Trinity Emmanuel Presbyterian, Memorial AME Zion, and Baber AME Church.
  • Serving specific roles on Third Church’s Anti-Racism Team.

As Committees and Groups, we have:

  • Sponsored several antiracism learning opportunities through Sunday Seminars, small group studies and book studies
  • Begun a conversation about systemic racism
  • Discussed specific examples of racism in our midst

Where we see opportunity:

  • Read about why every meeting should mention race and equity. Can you set aside ten minutes in each meeting for an equity moment?
  • Are you able to revisit your group’s charge and/or mission statement and engage in conversation?
  • How can our practices become more antiracist?  Several groups are drafting antiracism best practices.

As a Congregation, we have:

  • Endorsed the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group’s declaration “Racism is a Health Care Crisis”
  • Embarked on our Antiracism Project
  • Funded and helped lead RocACTS.

Where we see opportunities:

  • Carefully considering signing on to the PC(USA)’s Matthew 25 Commitment (Dismantling Structural Racism component).
  • Advocating for specific recommendations from the RASE Report (a report from the City of Rochester and Monroe County’s joint Commission on Race and Structural Equity) that dismantle structural racism.
  • Collaborating with the Presbytery’s Racial Justice Working Group.

 BONUS OPPORTUNITY: Join us on September 11, 10:00am – 12:00pm, for the Black Kids Matter Celebration at Harris-Whalen Park.