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Race and Faith - a four-part series

Sundays, 4:30-5:30pm, on Zoom

Led by the clergy: the Rev. Canon John Denaro, the Rev. Kate Salisbury, the Rev. Craig Townsend, the Rev. Marie Tatro


It is deeply regrettable that it has taken a series of tragic and wrongful deaths of unarmed African-Americans at the hands of police in the last couple of years to loosen the hold that racist structures still have over this nation. And it is a frustrating thing that while it feels as if our society may be entering a period full of the possibility of repentance and change, the constraints posed by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to present obstacles to those possibilities. We Christians, driven by a belief in the presence of the risen Christ in every human being, are called to further that repentance and change – and we at St. Ann's will do so in whatever way we can despite the challenges the pandemic forces upon us. An important starting point is to explore for ourselves, as followers of Jesus, how centuries-old racist structures hinder us even now and how our faith might help us to address and change them – and thereby us.


There are readings assigned in preparation for each session, listed below with links (when available) to online versions (which often have illustrations unavailable in the print/pdf version), and all are available to download to the left. We hope that many of you will commit to join us for all four sessions and strive to complete all of the reading. Please email Fr. Craig at for registration and program materials.


September 27 - The Hard Words: Race, Racism, Supremacy, Privilege, Intersectionality

An introduction to ways of thinking about race on a systemic level, and what our faith has to offer. 

Required Reading: "What is Racism?," Ijeoma Oluo; "Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person," Gina Crosley-Corcoran; the Baptismal Covenant and Biblical selections

Other Resources: "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy Macintosh (available here); "Status Update" (18 minute audio segment from "This American Life", available here


October 4 - A History of Racism: The Past That Isn't Past

A brief history of slavery and institutionalized racism in this country, and an exploration of ways that our nation is still shaped by that history.

Required Reading: "The History That James Baldwin Wanted America to See," Eddie Glaude, Jr., available here; "Why American Prisons Owe Their Cruelty to Slavery," Bryan Stevenson, available here

Other Resources: The 1619 Project, all essays available here; "From Mammy to Welfare Queen: Black Women in Public Policy Formation" by Emilie M. Townes


October 11 - Session 3: A Theological Approach to Slavery and Racism

What can we say about this history of Biblical faith and slavery? What can our faith push us toward today?

Required Reading: "She Shall Not Go Free as Male Slaves Do: Developing Views About Slavery and Gender in the Laws of the Hebrew Bible" by David P. Wright; "Slave Bible From The 1800s Omitted Key Passages That Could Incite Rebellion," Michel Martin (NPR article and audio interview, with transcript available, here

Other Resources: "Early Christianity, Slavery, and Women's Bodies," Jennifer A. Glancy 

October 18 - Session 4: Striving for Justice, or What's Next?

A discussion of what might be next for us, individually and as a parish. How can we further ourselves as the Beloved Community , to use Martin Luther King's vision? 

Required Reading: "The Case for Reparations," Ta-Nehisi Coates, interactive version available here

Other Resources: "Ta-Nehisi Coates Revisits 'The Case for Reparations'" (short article or longer interview, available from The New Yorker here)