Eleven folks from the Southeast Conference recently attended the Southeast/Southern Conference Retired Servants Retreat, held once again at the Blowing Rock Conference Center. Attendees from the SEC were: Elaine Ahrendt, Clara & Jim Benson, Trish Greeves, Marie Fortune & Anne Ganley, Tom & Clarice Mitchell, Joyce Myers-Brown, and Edwin & Judith Olson. The following article was published by the Southern Conference.
“I am white, and I am …”
by C. L. “Curly” Stumb
SOC e-News editor
BLOWING ROCK – Retired UCC servants, as they like to call themselves, made a pilgrimage to Blowing Rock Conference Center in early October for a retreat that has become an annual event. While ‘Retired’ suggests “having left one’s job and ceased to work,” this gathering represented persons who had clearly not ceased to work, but remain committed in various ways to a challenging agenda of social transformation. They envision a land still not realized, with opportunities balanced in a just environment for all.
By intention, this group of people unashamedly claim to be United Church of Christ servants. Rev. John Dorhauer (D.Min.), General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, reminded them that the UCC is still one of the best kept secrets.
Dorhauer challenged this group of persons that had gathered around him for five intense sessions to begin by creating a Spiritual Autobiography through the Lens of Race. “There is a way of growing up white in America that teaches you that you are the normal one and everyone else is different,” he noted from awareness of his own childhood experience growing up in the St. Louis area.
The curriculum resource — White Privilege, let’s talk — designed for transformational dialogue, was created by the United Church of Christ, and emerged out of Dorhouer’s doctoral studies. “It is not intended as a means for white allies to address questions related to what whites can do to create racial equality,” he says. “Rather, it is more appropriate to see this material as a means of reducing the impact of whiteness as a social construct, for it is in the privilege that emanates from the deployment of that construct that is the greatest impediment to racial equality America knows today.”