Antiracism ‘is the core work of the church’

Twin Cities staffer provides insight and encouragement during Giving Tuesday livestream

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Anna Kendig Flores, at left, the antiracism coordinator for the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, was featured during Giving Tuesday’s “How the Church can be Antiracist,” with the Rev. Alanna Simone Tyler, an associate pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. (Screenshot)

LOUISVILLE — More than a year after the death of George Floyd, the Rev. Anna Kendig Flores believes it’s still of utmost importance for churches to continue doing antiracism work.

“This is the core work of the church; antiracism work is the core work,” said Kendig Flores, antiracism coordinator for the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area. “And I don’t mean to say that we can’t have a Bible study about peacemaking or about eco-justice or anything else. But when we start understanding that when we look at the world through an antiracist lens, how we do eco-justice, how we do peacemaking, how we do mission and ministry changes and transforms and becomes more powerful.”

Kendig Flores was featured during “How the Church can be antiracist,” a Giving Tuesday segment that also included a video of members of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis reflecting on issues of race.

During the segment, livestreamed on Facebook, Kendig Flores answered a series of questions while chatting with the Rev. Alanna Simone Tyler, an associate pastor at Westminster.

Among the topics that Kendig Flores and Tyler discussed was charity vs. justice within the context of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Matthew 25 invitation, which includes dismantling structural racism as one of its foci.

“Sometimes when we think we are doing good, what we’re doing is replicating a charity model of I have something and you need something, so if I give you what I have, then that’s justice. But that’s not justice; that’s kindness,” Kendig Flores said. “There’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s not the same thing as the equity that God calls us to. And so I think you’re right that there’s a deeper invitation in Matthew 25 to ask, ‘Why are those people in prison?’” or “How can we change systems?”

But it can be difficult work, and Kendig Flores was asked how to keep pushing forward when feelings of hopelessness or despair arise.

“I think I would say, ‘How are you going to let the Holy Spirit bless you through that experience of hopelessness in this moment?’” she said. “And by that I don’t mean that hopelessness is a place we want to live. But we can recognize it in the Psalms, for instance, right? … There’s profound pain in those moments of hopelessness. But there’s also a blessing that we can find if we lean on our faith and we lean on the fuel that can give us to move forward.”

When it comes to antiracism work, Christians may have an advantage because “how Jesus talked about the world is something that can be incredibly transformative when we turn that lens on the world around us” and begin to ask how the parables can expose systems that do harm, she said.

Some of those harms have involved the church. “We have to acknowledge that the historical legacy of the church has been very bound up in colonialism and white supremacy in ways that I think hurt a lot of people to talk about,” she said.

Now is the time to be “willing to be transformed by God,” she said. There’s “an incredible invitation to looking at those (unjust) systems with clear eyes and (being) unafraid of what it can tell us because all it can tell us is how can we follow God to something better.”

Find a video of the antiracism segment and other aspects of Giving Tuesday at facebook.com/pcusa.


Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

  • Subscribe to the PC(USA) News

  • Interested in receiving either of the PC(USA) newsletters in your inbox?



Categories: ,
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Ministries: ,