First Congregational United Church of Christ of Canton will be hosting a Sacred Conversation on Race at a special event Sunday, April 15 at 2 p.m. at the church located at 159 North Second Avenue, Canton. It is free, open to the public and child care is available.
The “Black and White Together: God With Us” conversation at the church is an adult education forum designed around shared spiritual autobiographies of congregation members and guest speakers, with discussions on various aspects of white privilege.
The event will be hosted by Rev. Sue Harrington, pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ, and Timothy Collins, a congregation member.
The event will feature two visitors from Greenville, North Carolina who have been successful in the face of racial discrimination and white privilege, dating back to their childhoods in the South.
Mark S. Woodson, president of the Five Prime Media Group, will be the first speaker. He also is an on-air host for a gospel show and various information programs, including an ESPN show on radio stations in Eastern North Carolina. He began his career with national telecommunications providers AT&T and Lucent Technologies, developing expertise in marketing, business management, and customer education and training.
Both his electrical engineering technology degree and his religious studies degree are from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His Master of Business Administration is from UNC-Greensboro and Woodson has a Master’s Certification in Project Management from George Washington University.
The second speaker will be Sam Barber, retired university professor and choral conductor. He is a well-known expert on the Wings Over Jordan Choir that appeared on CBS Radio during the 1930s and 1940s.
Barber was born on a farm near Trenton, NC, and graduated from Howard University School of Music, Washington, DC; the Roosevelt University School of Music, Washington, DC; the Roosevelt University Conservatory of Music, Chicago; and the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.
He is the author of a Greenville local history, A Journey to Purchasing And Naming The Brown Hill Cemetery. Barber is currently working on a book, Go Down Moses: The Wings Over Jordan Choir.
The topic of white privilege may seem remote to many in west-central Illinois. The purpose of the Sacred Conversation on Race is to help the congregation and surrounding faith communities grow in understanding that the wider traditions of white privilege damage our relationship with God and with each other, even in a predominantly white community and region.
Materials for the curriculum have been adapted from a recently issued United Church of Christ program, “White Privilege: Let’s Talk. A Resource for Transformational Dialogue.”
For additional information or for a ride, call the First Congregational UCC church at 647-0271.