Christ Congregational Church UCC holds a vision of becoming a multi-cultural, multi-racial, anti-racist congregation that more faithfully reflects the entire community of Silver Spring, Maryland.
We are a covenant faith community who believe that all people are made in God’s image, reconciled by Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. We believe it is our role to take an active stance in systematically dismantling racism. A part of an anti-racism stance is acknowledging a system of white privilege in the United States which tends to perpetuate societal stereotypes in all its citizens.
We believe that our commitment to anti-racism should be reflected in the life and culture of the congregation through our policies, programs and practices as we continue to learn about racism. We are committed to developing and working to implement strategies that dismantle racism through our adult and children’s education, Sunday services, mission giving, purchases and business practices, and community outreach and action.
We believe we are all called to work against racism and work for a society in which the words of the Gospel are realized among us.
We acknowledge that CCC has a rich heritage of engagement in addressing racism in our society over the years, and we recognize that our anti-racism journey is a continuing one. Therefore, we claim the prophetic work and title “Becoming an Anti-racist Church”.
Accepted and Affirmed by a Unanimous Vote of the congregation at the Annual Meeting held on 11 June 2006.
CCC Anti-Racism Timeline:
November 26, 2003 Delilah Marrow & Jim Henkelman-Bahn met with Jim Todhunter and Art Waidmann at an informal luncheon to discuss the Central Atlantic Conference (CAC) Anti-Racism Task Force and agreed to propose an Anti-Racism initiative for CCC.
Jim H-B & Delilah committed to coordinate the initiative with the support of Jim T as pastor and Art in his role on the CAC Anti-Racism Task Force. We divided the tasks – Calling appropriate people to get on the agenda of the Adult Ed. Committee, Board for Social Witness, and the Executive Council meetings. Art would keep Delilah & Jim H-B informed of the Anti-Racism Task Force meeting at the end of December
December 9, 2003 Jim H-B & Delilah met with the Adult Ed. Committee. The Committee agreed to support the initiative by
- Working with the Bd. For Social Witness in sponsoring educational events for CCC leading up to the Anti-Racism Audit
- Possibly holding an adult education program on Sunday mornings
- Possibly holding a retreat on anti-racism at the CCC retreat house
- Perhaps developing an anti-racism program with another church
- Perhaps working with Youth Ministries & the Youth Global Experiential Learning Initiative (YGELI) with Heritage & Little River Churches to involve adults in these churches in anti-racism work.
Dec. 30-31, 2004 – Anne Weissenborn, Delilah & Jim H-B attended the CAC Anti-Racism Task Force meeting & presented work already in progress at CCC including the draft proposal to be presented to the Executive Council.
January 5, 2004 – Delilah & Jim H-B presented an overview of the Anti-Racism Initiative to the Executive Council. The Council endorsed the concept unanimously with the expectation that Jim H-B & Delilah will facilitate the process. (Hold the space.)
January 19, 2004 – Delilah met with the Bd. for Social Witness. The Bd. suggested the following:
- Providing limited funding for activities
- Responding to opportunities for engagement including beyond CCC
- Ongoing communication about the initiative
- Liaison with the CAC Anti-Racism Task Force.
- Jointly sponsored forums, workshops or retreats with the Adult Ed. Committee
12 people on group email list
February 2, 2004 – The Anti-Racism proposal presented to the Executive Council by Delilah & Jim H-B was unanimously approved. The Guidance Committee & list serve were initiated. We agreed that consensus is an effective way to make decisions.
22 people on group email list
February 23, 2004 – First meeting of the Guidance Committee to plan next steps for the Anti-Racism initiative. After brainstorming many wonderful ideas, we decided to begin with a weekend workshop. Once the date was set, we divided tasks, registration form, publicity, food, child care, set-up. Nathan Harris, Art Waidmann & Francis Greene of the CAC Anti-Racism Task Force would facilitate. Participants would be those interested and who could attend the entire weekend (plan for 30). Funding was an issue to be resolved.
March & April 2004 Resolve funding issue, publicity in Sunday Bulletin, News Notes, the Web Site, word of mouth & Jim T from the pulpit.
35 people on group email list
May 7-8, 2004 – First Anti-Racism workshop. 25 CCC participants 3 trainers 1 trainer in training. 5 CCC people of color, 9 CCC white male, 11 white female.
May 8, 2004 – Letter to Gov. Robert Ehrlich, Jr. in response to his racist remarks signed by The Executive Council of CCC with an invitation to visit CCC & the multi-cultural people of Silver Spring.
May 15, 2004 – CCC members participated in Civil Rights March on Washington
CCC members attend Potomac Association Annual Meeting.
May 25, 2004 – Follow up for the Anti-Racism Workshop & Next Steps on the Journey. 10 people attended. Possible next steps include:
- CCC Anti-Racism Audit
- Write Racial Autobiographies
- Further Ed. Events: Youth Event in the Fall, Power Equity Group(PEG), once/month Film & Book Discussions, Provide Ed. Events for CAC and/or the community, Work with IMPACT Silver Spring in addressing racism in the community, Monitor racism at Blair High School. Those present signed on to follow thru as they had interest.
June 1, 2004 – Jim H-B, Delilah & Art met to begin planning for the CCC Anti-Racism Audit
June 4/5, 2004 – People on Anti-Racism List Serve invited to attend live performances of 12 Angry Jurors presented by LASTING IMPACT.
June 12, 2004 – Delilah to present CCC Anti-Racism Initiative at the CAC Annual Meeting along with other CAC Anti-Racism Task Force leaders. 43 people on group email list
June 17, 2004 – Guidance Committee meets to hear feedback from CAC, plans developed by the Adult Ed. Committee, and prepare for meeting with the Executive Council on the Audit
July 12, 2004 – Met with the Executive Council to discuss proposal for the Anti-Racism audit at CCC.
July-Sept. 2004 – Recruited 6 teams to conduct Anti-Racism Audit 1) Worship & Celebration, 2) Education, 3) Fellowship & Outreach, 4) Community & Business Relationships, 5) Policies & Procedures/Nominations, 6) Training/Call Process/Staff.
July 13, 2004 – Audit document posted on website. 55 people on group email list
July 19, 2005 – Yahoo Anti-Racism Group established
July 30, 2004 – Proposal circulated for Power Equity Group (PEG) Seminar over President’s Day Weekend February 19-21
August 26, 2004 – Delilah Marrow, Jim Henkelman-Bahn & Rev. Nathan Harris attended the Executive Council annual retreat. They, along with CCC staff, presented and dialogued with the Council on the anti-racism journey.
Sept. 22, 2004 – Orientation training for CCC Anit-Racism Audit teams with CAC Anti-Racism Task Force (19 people attended)
Oct. 6, 2004 – PEG flyer posted on CCC website
October 17 – November 21, 2004 – Six Sunday evening sessions on Racial Autobiography using the book entitled Understanding Whiteness: Unraveling Racism
Nev. 15, 2004 – Preliminary report on the Anti-Racism Audit to the all-boards meeting giving strengths, weaknesses and possible action steps for each of the six categories.
Dec. 5, 2004 – Power point Anti-Racism presentation at the 60th anniversary pot luck dinner outlining “Possible Action Steps” taken from the anti-racism audit
Dec. 12, 2004 – Jim H-B and Delilah led discussion with Confirmation Class
Dec. 15, 2004 – Guidance Committee met to discuss audit outcome and next steps for the anti-racism journey
Jan. 3, 2005 – Jim H-B and Delilah met with Executive Council to discuss progress on the anti-racism journey
Jan. 9, 2005 – Jim H-B and Delilah led discussion with Confirmation Class
Jan. 16, 2005 Jim H-B & Delilah shared an anti-racism “Mission Moment” at both worship services as part of the Social Witness Month, and read the MLK litany during the 10:30 service.
Feb. 5, 2005 – Presented the anti-racism vision based on the anti-racism audit at CCC Visioning Day. 59 people on group email and mailing list
Feb. 19-21, 2005 – PEG Seminar – An in-depth diversity learning experience. 12 members CCC and 12 members IMPACT Silver Spring. 4 trainer/facilitators and one trainee from New Dynamics
Feb. 24, 2005 – PEG Workshop photos on Website
Feb. 27, 2005 – Gathering of CCC PEG participants for feedback and sharing
March 5, 2005 – Presented revised anti-racism vision based on February 5 Visioning Day discussion. Engaged the group in discussing next steps.
March 8, 2005 – Article in News Notes sharing personal reactions to PEG. Workshop, and thanks to all who helped to make the workshop a reality
March 22, 2005 – Guidance Committee meeting – Discussion and decisions on next steps
April 4, 2005 – Met with Executive Council to bring update and plans for next steps. Brought recommendations of the Guidance Committee re opportunity to seek people of color for the position of Minister of Music and/or Church Administrator. (CCC hired an African American, Interim Music Director)
Mar. –July 2005 – CCC and Lasting IMPACT agreed to continue connections following PEG workshop. We agreed on informal pot lucks. 4 successful pot lucks were held—1st at CCC, 2nd at Jim Henkelman-Bahn & Jackie Bahn-Henkelman’s, 3rd at Michael Paul’s and 4th at Jamie Karn’s. Maggie Potapchuk joined the group and helped us think about ways to move forward. She described what some other communities have done to address anti-racism. Our discussion at each pot luck focused on the importance of building trust and relationships with each other. We also discussed increasing our awareness and knowledge about racism and equity issues as well as learn about each other’s culture. Specifically it is important for whites to do their own work with other whites.
Sept. 16, 2005 – Planning group including representatives of CCC, IMPACT Silver Spring and Montgomery Missionary Community Church met with John Landesman to learn about Study Circles as next steps beyond the informal pot luck group.
Sept. 27, 2005 – A small group focusing on Anti-Racism began meeting regularly each 2nd and 4th Tuesday evening. The group is following thru on the recommendations of the Anti-Racism Audit.
Oct. 19, 2005 – Held information meeting at CCC to introduce Study Circle as a process for discussing race and ethnicity in Silver Spring.
Nov. 21, 2005 – Upon recommendations of the Anti-Racism Small Group, CCC Staff and Deacons agreed to include the following welcoming statement in the bulletin and state it verbally each Sunday when welcoming visitors: (At CCC we celebrate and honor people of all races, cultures, ages, abilities and sexual orientation.) The statement has been incorporated into the home page of the CCC website. Also, the Caswell’s have added this statement to the bulletin board in the entry way. (Gender identity was later added to the statement.)
Nov. 17, 2005 – Jim H-B & Delilah lit the 1st Advent Candle of Hope and gave a brief blurb on anti-racism at CCC and in the community. 61 people on group email list
Nov. 7 – A Study Circle of 19 diverse people from CCC, IMPACT
Dec. 12, 2005 – Silver Spring and the Montgomery Missionary Community Church met for six consecutive Monday nights to get to know each other, and to grapple with the issues of race and ethnicity in the Silver Spring community. Collectively those of us from the Study Circle are continuing our work by intentionally forming a Community of Practice addressing Race and Ethnicity in Silver Spring.
Jan. 15, 2006 – Participated in worship as part of the Social Witness month giving highlights of the journey.
Jan. 21, 2006 – Jointly with the Outreach & Engagement Committee engaged groups in discussion of these issues at the annual Visioning Day.
Feb. 1-28, 2006 – Delilah responsible for display of prominent African American leaders of the UCC for Black History month.
March 6, 2006 – Met with Executive Council to bring update, present a proposed resolution that CCC claim the prophetic work and title “Becoming an anti-racist church” as foundational to our mandate to becoming a truly multi-racial, multi-cultural church.
April 2006 – Because it has been difficult to bring groups together for a face-to-face discussion, the Anti-Racism Yahoo List Serve and a comments box in the church office were used to obtain feedback on the proposed resolution.
May 1, 2006 – Met with Executive Council to bring an update on the anti-racism journey, and the status of the proposed resolution presented at the March 6 Executive Council meeting. The Executive Council took no official action. However, a new course of action was recommended, based on the discussion at the meeting i.e. that a new shorter statement be developed consistent with the CCC Just Peace Statement and the Open and Affirming Statement.
May 9, 2006 – The Anti-Racism Guidance Committee was convened to draft the new CCC Anti-Racism Covenant—On Becoming an Anti- Racist Church “Christ UCC holds a vision of becoming a multi- cultural, multi-racial, anti-racist congregation that more faithfully reflects the entire community of Silver Spring, MD.”
May 21, 2006 – This new version was presented as an insert in the worship bulletin, and the CCC Town Hall Meetings. Dialogue will continue.
May 23, 2006 – Met with CAC Anti-Racism Task Force to share an update on CCC’s Anti-Racism Journey, and dialogue on next steps at CCC.
May 30, 2006 – The Anti-Racism Guidance Committee met to revise and update the CCC Covenant based on written feedback, and to prepare a motion for action by the Executive Council meeting June 5.
June 5, 2006 – Presented revised CCC Anti-Racism Covenant to Executive Council. The Executive Council unanimously approved and affirmed the Covenant as presented.
June 11, 2006 – The Congregation at it’s annual meeting unanimously accepted and affirmed the CCC Covenant “Becoming an Anti-Racist Church.”
November 2007 – Moderator and Coordinators met with Interim Senior Minister re status of anti-racism journey at CCC.
Feb.-March 2008 – Interim Senior Minister, Susan Henderson, led a Sunday evening Lenten series on anti-racism using the film “Crash”
March 2008 – Interim Senior Minister, Susan Henderson, Delilah Marrow and Jim Henkelman-Bahn attended the CAC Anti-Racism Task Force meeting and shared our experiences at CCC with other churches from the Central Atlantic Conference.
March 2008 – The Board for Social Witness led a film series after worship including “Mirror of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible,” “The True Cost of Food” and “Sierra Club Heroes.”
May 2, 2008 – Delilah Marrow and Jim Henkelman-Bahn shared update on CCC Anti-Racism activities with members of the CAC Board of Directors.
Sept. 2008 – Following one of the 9:00 a.m. worship services, our Interim Senior Pastor was greeted with racist comments and unkind remarks. The incident is painful for everyone and is not consistent with who CCC strives to be. The Executive Council met with the Interim Minister, and placed a statement in the bulletin expressing condemnation about the remarks and asserting the church’s commitment to becoming anti-racist. Other staff members have been involved in a resolution of this incident.
Nov. 23, 2008 – A Sacred Conversation on Race was convened in the church chancel where 47 members of the congregation came together in dialogue to share their reactions & feelings about the September racial incident at CCC. The group pledged to continue the journey, toward CCC becoming an anti-racist church, through a variety of venues including additiona conversations, multi-cultural training, films, ecumenical exchanges with other churches, etc. People were encouraged to join the Contemporary Theology group in early January where “Black Liberation Theology” written by James Cone is the book for discussion.
Jan. 29-31, 2009 – Jim Henkelman-Bahn, Delilah Marrow and Susan Henderson were participants in a group of UCC leader, at Franklinton Center in North Carolina, who are engaged in Anti-Racism Strategies throughout all settings of the UCC. The goal of the gathering was “To share and develop core components for training models for doing Anti-racism work that moves from conversation on race to transformation that can be used throughout the UCC in all its settings.” Susan facilitated the discussion, and Jim & Delilah presented a case study on CCC’s Anti-Racism Journey, along with several other teams. The Justice & Witness Ministries will prepare a report to be circulated throughout the UCC.
70 people on group email list
Jan. 16, 2010 – A workshop was held at CCC: Becoming an Anti-Racist Church with over twenty participants. Jim Henkelman-Bahn, Howard Jackson and Jackie Bahn-Henkelman facilitated.
Jan. 17, 2010 – The CCC Anti-Racist Covenant was reaffirmed during the worship service as part of the Together We Grow program focusing on CCC Covenants.
February, 2010 – The Board for Social Witness placed an Anti-Racism Time Line in the Fellowship Hall to highlight the involvement of CCC and UCC in the struggle for justice. This included both the organizational level work and individual work. This Anti-Racism Time Line is to be archived.
February, 2010 – May, 2010 Amanda Jordan completed an Organizational Diversity Diagnosis and Intervention as a case study of the Anti-Racism Journey of CCC. Amanda is a graduate student at the School for International Training in VT. This paper is posted on the CCC website in the archives.
Feb. 13, 2011 – A diverse group of CCC members and friends gathered after the Sunday morning worship service to share their stories of the civil rights period. Some extraordinary stories of oppression were shared together with many stories of engagement in addressing the oppression.
Sampling of Recent Racial Justice Circle Activities:
- Sponsored two church study groups on Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, after which we determined that criminal justice reform would be one of our priority issues.
- October 2015, Christ Congregational Church became a member of the Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform (MAJR), a bipartisan statewide coalition that educates and advocates on issues of criminal justice reform and works to change the over-incarceration of persons of color.
- Attended MAJR meetings and supported MAJR’s advocacy efforts which achieved 3 notable 2015 state legislative successes: creation of a state study to examine incarceration policies and make recommendations to the governor and legislature for reform; shielding convictions for minor crimes after 3 years of the sentence completion; and restoration of voting rights to ex-felons upon release from prison. Our members gladly contacted officials concerning these measures, with coaching from RJC.
- Supported our pastor in the decision to place a large “Black Lives Matter” banner in front of our church.
- Began hosting after-church educational sessions, called “Lunch and Learn,” devoted to racial justice topics.
- November, hosted a session conducted by RJC and Interfaith Action for Human Rights of Maryland (IAHR) on the state’s use of solitary confinement. IAHR brought two former felons (re-entered citizens) who spoke of their time in prison and of their experiences in solitary confinement, which was psychologically devastating to both.
- January to mid April, assisted with MAJR efforts to get a comprehensive criminal justice bill passed in Annapolis, with success (Justice Reinvestment Act). This act derived from the 2015 state study of Maryland incarceration practices and the state report on same. Church members were very supportive in contacting their officials on this issue.
- January, hosted ‘Lunch and Learn’ on juvenile justice, featuring presentation by Just Kids organization.
- February, hosted ‘L and L’ on county criminal justice system, with two presenters from the county – a prosecutor and a public defender.
- Spring, contacted our county council and advocated for bus service by county bus system to serve Tobytown, a historically black community which was isolated due to no public transit. County Council decided to provide service.
- June, hosted general meeting of MAJR at our church, drawing participants from Baltimore and neighboring counties. Focus was on new activities related to criminal justice reform.
- Fall, held two church study groups on Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
- Fall, explored cooperation with A Wider Circle, a local effort to assist low-income families with housing, furnishings, clothing and support.
- Our church’s “Black Lives Matter” banner was vandalized three times. RJC supported pastor’s leadership on continuing to display the banner. After third vandalization, on election night 2016, the pastor held a press conference that week about the vandalism, attended by both local and national officials. The conference received excellent media coverage, both print and TV. So far, our replacement “Black Lives Matter” banner has remained intact.
- January to mid April, assisted with MAJR efforts to work for reform of monetary bail reform in Maryland. Church members were invaluable in contacting their officials on this issue. Result was the prevention of a damaging measure that would have enshrined bail bondsmen’s interests.
- January, hosted ‘Lunch and Learn’ conducted by the local organization Gandhi Brigade Youth Media who showed and led a discussion on their production “To Serve and Protect” about Black Lives Matter and police relationships with the community.
- Began exploring the immigration issue as it plays out locally. Some members went to be trained as observers for those whose presence in the US was being officially questioned.
- Began explorations with other churches about cooperation on issues of mutual interest on racial justice.
- April, conducted two study groups in our church on white privilege, using the UCC curriculum, ‘White Privilege: Let’s Talk,’ available online.
- May, participated in the MAJR general meeting to discuss their criminal justice reform focus for the rest of 2017 and into 2018.
For more information contact Jim Henkelman-Bahn, firstname.lastname@example.org