Sacred Ground

A Film-Based Dialogue Series on Race & Faith

Religious Resources

These resources are intended to be woven throughout the Sacred Ground journey at the discretion of the facilitator(s) or designated participants. As the process unfolds, you will gain a sense of the spiritual rhythm of your group and an idea of what might be of service. These offerings are just a selection.  We know and trust that you will bring other powerful scripture passages, prayers, and theological reflections beautifully into the mix.

I. Selected Passages from Scripture

These are offered as options for facilitators to select from among for reading out loud at the beginning of dialogue sessions.  They are organized thematically, to help you think about when you may wish to use them.  They are all taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.  Please also see the reading from Jim Wallis’s book, America’s Original Sin, in Session 1 for other relevant scripture passages. Also, of course, please feel free to make your own additional scripture selections.

II. Prayers

Various Church bodies have produced powerful sets of prayers that speak to the ministry of racial justice and reconciliation.  Those provided here are an initial selection, which we look forward to expanding with your help.

A. Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music Prayers

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) has produced: 

  • Prayers of the People with Confession, and for different seasons of the Church calendar 
  • A Litany of Repentance 
  • A Commissioning for the Ministry of Justice and Reconciliation 

B. Anti-Racism Prayers

The Episcopal Church’s antiracism training manual, Seeing the Face of God in Each Other, has a rich and extensive collection of relevant prayers, beginning on page 33.

C. Diocese of West Virginia

The Commission to End Racism of the Diocese of West Virginia has developed:

  • A series of special collects, for each month of the year
  • Guidance on how to use the new publication, Holy Women, Holy Men, which replaces the Lesser Feasts and Fasts series (“The new book contains all the traditional observances, but adds many more newly approved selections, including more non-whites”)

D. Creative Commons

Multimedia prayer prompts to use & remix. Walks of life: for parents breaking white silence.

E. Walter Bruggeman – Prayers for a Privileged People

Selection of powerful prayers from Walter Brueggeman book Prayers for a Privileged People.

III. Theological Reflections And Quotes

A. Theological Reflections 

B. Quotes

That self-centered pride that puts me in the center of the world and puts you and God and everybody else on the periphery, that selfishness, it is the root of all evil.  It is the source of every wrong.  It is behind every bigotry.  It is behind every injustice.

––Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, from a sermon at General Convention 2018

Think and imagine a world when love is the way. … Because when love is the way, we actually treat each other like we are actually family.  When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all.  And we are brothers and sisters, children of God.  My brothers and sisters, that’s a new Heaven, a new Earth, a new world, a new human family.

––Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, from his sermon at the Royal Wedding, 2018

Forgiveness does not relieve someone of responsibility for what they have done.  Forgiveness does not erase accountability.  It is not about turning a blind eye or even turning the other cheek.  It is not about letting someone off the hook or saying it is okay to do something monstrous.  Forgiveness is simply about understanding that every one of us is both inherently good and inherently flawed.  Within every hopeless situation and every seemingly hopeless person lies the possibility of transformation.

―Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World

We are made for goodness.  We are made for love.  We are made for friendliness.  We are made for togetherness.  We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know.  We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders.  All are welcome: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all.  We all belong to this family, this human family, God’s family.

––Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Made for Goodness

Goodness knows no nationality.  Kindness knows no single creed.  Mercy is universal.  Love is in every land.  As often as we may hear that we are different from others, brought to feel we have reason to fear people of a different country or faith, we need to also hear that we have much more in common as human beings than we have differences.  We are of the same family.  We long for quiet days, we hope to find work, we worry when we are sick.  We watch the weather, we play with our children, we laugh when something strikes us as funny.  Community is as much our shared experience as conflict.  Peace is our recurring dream.

—Bishop Steven Charleston

For American democracy to be real for all its citizens we must die to “whiteness.”  Only by morally dying to our false identity as white people – an identity created for violent, oppressive profit – can we come alive to our true identity as human beings.  That false identity is well articulated by Ta-Nehisi Coates as “those Americans who believe that they are white.”  And for white Christians, dying to whiteness is essential to our spiritual integrity and to our salvation from the sin of racism.  It will mean nothing less than giving up what has become an idol and casting it away in returning to God.

            ––Jim Wallis, America’s Original Sin