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New seven-week PC(USA) Black resistance Bible study launches on Feb. 1


Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries has scheduled a compelling clergy lineup to lead each week

by Layton Williams Berkes | Presbyterian News Service

CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Racial Equity and Women’s Intercultural Ministries is launching a new virtual Bible study to celebrate Black History Month. The series is called “Models of Black Resistance Past and Present” and will stream on the RE&WIM Facebook page at 5 p.m. Eastern Time each Wednesday from February 1 through March 15.

The Bible study is being coordinated by the Rev. Michael Moore, RE&WIM’s African American Intercultural Associate for Congregational Support. In addition to his work for the denominational offices, Moore has more than 24 years of ministry experience as both parish pastor and chaplain. His work has primarily focused on addressing racism, poverty, and systemic injustice —especially in urban contexts. He was instrumental in the establishment of Presbytery of Baltimore’s “Dismantling Racism” policy and program, which mandates training for clergy, staff and those in the ordination process.

Moore said he was motivated to organize this new seven-week series because nothing that lengthy has been done previously for Black History Month and a lot of people expressed interest in a deeper dive.

While the exact content is still in development, the study will explore a number of themes and resistance traditions, including adaptive resistance, integrationist resistance, Black nationalist resistance, womanist resistance, and Afrocentric resistance.

Moore has also organized a compelling lineup of ministers to lead each week. In addition to Moore himself leading the initial gathering on Feb. 1, weekly session leaders include:

  • Feb. 8 — The Rev. Dr. Alonzo Johnson, Coordinator for the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People. Johnson has more than 25 years of experience specializing in urban, youth, education, creative arts, antiracism and social justice ministries.
  • Feb. 15 — The Rev. Kamal Hassan, pastor of Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church in Richmond, California. Although Sojourner Truth is the first Presbyterian church Hassan has served, he has been an African Methodist Episcopal minister for more than 10 years and a religious worker for more than 20.
  • Feb. 22 — The Rev. Dr. Floretta Barbee-Watkins, Lead Presbyter of the Presbytery of the James in Virginia. In addition to work at the presbytery level in both Michigan and Virginia, Barbee-Watkins has served on the denominational level and as a parish pastor and is a 20-year veteran of the United States National Guard.
  • March 1 — The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, the PC(USA)’s Advocacy Director. Hawkins spent more than 25 years as a parish pastor and has been involved with numerous justice organizations and movements including the Moral Mondays Movement, the Poor People’s Campaign, and the NAACP. He is also the author of “Unbroken and Unbowed: A History of Black Protest in America,” published last year by Westminster John Knox Press.
  • March 8 — The Rev. Carlton Johnson, associate director of Theology, Formation & Evangelism. Johnson also serves as an associate minister of First Afrikan Presbyterian Church in Lithonia, Georgia. His scholarship focuses on the impact of African American preaching on grief and mourning, and he has had a lifelong commitment to the disenfranchised, particularly young African American males.
  • March 15 — The Rev. Brooke A. Scott, pastor of Church on Main and organizing pastor in Wilmington, Delaware, for New Castle Presbytery. Scott is a cisgender, queer ordained minister and social worker who is passionate about using faith to liberate and empower historically marginalized communities as well as transform unjust systems.

The Rev. Michael Moore

Moore explained that this Bible study is important because too often the contemporary lens on Black History focuses on the untold trauma waged upon Black people. Meanwhile, he said, we often miss seeing in historical context the incredible and exceptional people who moved the ball of Black liberation forward.

“It is my hope these studies will provide an opportunity for viewers to see that Black liberation is a marathon and not a sprint,” Moore said, “and that each generation must run their leg of the relay and is obligated to pass on the baton of faith.”

There is no registration required to participate in this Bible study series. All seven sessions will be livestreamed on the Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries Facebook page. Participants are encouraged to use Facebook to offer comments and questions during each session.

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