by Deb Ramsey
The St. Barnabas Becoming Beloved Community Steering Committee met with Kids4Peace on Sunday afternoon, January 5, for their monthly meeting. These young people meet on the first Sunday of each month at the Mayerson JCC for group meetings. They invited our committee to join them because a special speaker, Fred Oduyoye, was their guest speaker about human connection between races.
Fred led the group with enthusiasm to explore questions raised regarding this subject. He introduced himself as a true African American because his father was from Africa and his mother was from the U.S. During his discussion, everyone seemed very intent on hearing what he described as his work. He stated that issues in the past regarding racism have not changed, but the people of this time have become more aware of how humankind is being treated in their class and culture.
Fred led us through several activities. In the first one, he asked us to imagine being on an island with our small group and then asked how we could use words to make everyone feel accepted as part of the group. This was done by choosing cards with words that would most fit the consensus of the group in just 10 words and give everyone a positive voice as a group member. We then had to narrow it down to 5 words and then a single word. It was a true thinking activity about belief and standards that everyone has a right to live within.
The last activity was for the young people to select a picture from a pile, find an adult, and explain how the picture matched with the discussion we had for this session. There was real thought put into how the pictures related to racism and how we as humans should treat each other with respect and dignity. That is the golden rule for this work, and it is a hard one to follow sometimes.
I thoroughly enjoyed the session because it gave credence to how we as Christians should treat one another and how the human race should include each other instead of exclude those that might not fit the norm of the group.
We are planning another session with Kids4Peace in the future. If anyone is interested in learning more about Becoming Beloved Community, just ask a member of the committee. We will be glad to share any information.
Becoming Beloved Community Committee members:
Nicole A. Hershey, co-chair
Bethanie Van Camp
Jason Williams, co-chair