It all begins one-to-one.
Someone extends a hand (or a socially distant wave in our Covid world), and a conversation begins. And yet, this often seems to be where people with open hearts and a yearning for racial healing feel stymied. How can we make
meaningful connections across the divide of race when much of our society remains so segregated today? And is it even possible in our pandemic restricted society today?
Interwoven Congregations begins by helping people of faith who are committed to racial healing to find another faith community (with a different racial composition) with which to partner. These connections often begin at the clergy level. In other cases, faith communities may already have a relationship with another faith community, but they can use some assistance in shaping the partnership, and then once it's begun, receiving support to help it blossom.
Aside from supporting linkages between clergy and the leadership teams of the two partnering congregations, Interwoven Congregations support the creation of small relational groups composing if 10 - 12 people (5 to 6 from each congregation). These group meet monthly. For now, these gatherings take place effectively over a platform like Zoom. Once more normal gatherings are possible, these gatherings can take place in people homes or at their respective faith communities.
Beyond small group gatherings, the two partnering congregations can build relationships by doing things together. Sharing in worship is a great place to start (and readily done via Zoom or other platform). Joint mission projects are another way to open the door to relationship building. Then there are a wealth of other social occasions on the faith community calendar that lend themselves well to linking up with your partner congregation.
The point of it all? The first answer is joy. The joy we find in building community across the rich diversity of God's creation. But we also know from numerous studies that one of the feeders of racism in society is the implicit biases that many of us harbor based on race. Whether we're conscious of it or not, we perpetuate the racism that we drink and breathe each day. Building relationships with people of other racial backgrounds, studies show, is one effective tool to dismantle racism -- one relationship at a time.