Monday morning, after a hearty breakfast, we took our places in the auditorium for some more praise music with the band. We are singing Ghanaian and Spanish songs. We are singing Spirituals and praise music. They have taught us a beautiful new melody to a hymn in our red hymnal – A Place at the Table. By mid-morning, we were split into smaller groups (of maybe 80-100 people) to participate in something called a GLOCAL conversation. These are conversations about things that affect us in our homes/neighborhoods (LOCAL) and on a larger scale, across the nations (GLOBAL). Our GLOCAL conversation was about our identities, specifically as that applies to race/ethnicity. We talked about power. Those things which make us feel powerful, and those which leave us feeling powerless.
Our kids participated fully in this important time together. They got on stage to answer questions. They told perfect strangers things that made them feel vulnerable, and they listened to others speak their truths, too. Then, we talked about how, as Christians, our call is to discern our power and how to use it for the world God loves. In the afternoon, we had some free time, so some of us walked to a local grocery store to buy some snacks. Of course, they held hands as they crossed the street, as all good, safe children should.
Then, after dinner, we were offered an opportunity to meet with those who identify as the same ethnicity as we do. So, half our kids went to the African Descent group, and half went to the Caucasian group. (There were many other groups, but none of our kids are Pacific Islanders, Latino, Native American/Alaskan, or Arab/Middle Eastern.) When we met later that night as a youth group to talk about that experience, we had a holy and powerful conversation about how loved our kids feel. Please be in worship on July 26th if you possibly can. You are going to want to hear what we learned about ourselves and each other. We were also treated to a concert of a local poet, a local dance team, and a Palestinian Christian singer who rocked the house! We went to bed exhausted from a long day of deep, important discussion and reflection.