Virtual Beloved Conversations for BIPOC+ and White People

Beloved Conversations—the signature offering of The Fahs Collaborative at Meadville Lombard Theological School—is a program for Unitarian Universalists seeking to embody racial justice as a spiritual practice. In Beloved Conversations, we are here to heal the impact of racism on our lives in order to get free together.

This virtual edition of Beloved Conversations will be released in three phases: WITHIN, AMONG, and BEYOND. The first phase, “Within,” focuses on the internal work that each of us needs to do, as we engage personal exploration of race and our work for racial justice. This work is different for white folks and for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and other racially targeted groups (BIPOC+)* and the “Within” phase will be done entirely in race-based caucuses/courses.

Each of the courses consist of:

  • Six online lessons that participants complete on their own, with a new lesson available approximately every two weeks starting March 16
  • Six gatherings with 4-5 people in a learning pod, gathering for self-facilitated sessions every two weeks. Unless otherwise requested, participants from All Souls will be in pods together to facilitate ongoing relationship and momentum beyond the course.
  • Three meaning-making sessions, where we come together in a large group via Zoom (in our racial caucuses) to worship, learn, and share our evolving understanding of this journey. One session each in March, April, and May.

An invitation to BIPOC+ to the Gathering Our Selves course

BIPOC+ work has been a neglected conversation, as much anti-racism work has been focused on the learning needs of white folks. For those of us who identify as BIPOC+, we recognize the need to understand the impact of racism in our lives—particularly our spiritual lives—and the choices we have made to survive.

In this curriculum, we will look at issues such as how and why Unitarian Universalist values matter to us, how race has shaped our personal and communal lives, the dynamics of why and how we stay in the faith, and what a theology for BIPOC+ in a white-dominated society might look like.

Gathering Our Selves will run in two cohorts: one for people who have completed the fall term and one for those who are new to the program in the spring. The two cohorts will have opportunities to come together for worship and connection.

An invitation to white folks to the Un/Learning for Liberation course

Wherever we white folks are on the journey toward collective liberation—whether you are just waking up to systemic racial injustice or your heart has been breaking for a longtime—you are invited to join us for Un/Learning for Liberation. We will explore within ourselves as individual white people, within our family and community systems, and within the system of whiteness, which has impacted and limited our ability to truly be present with and connected to ourselves and our siblings of color. But we get to choose to be and do differently. Beginning within ourselves.

This is a space for justice-making and spiritual formation, a place where we honor complexity, nuance, and grace. We will bear witness to one another as we engage a process of introspection, honest reflection, and challenge what we always thought we knew or were too afraid or embarrassed to ask. We will learn together about how this system has impacted us and dis-connected us from ourselves and our BIPOC+ kin and how it was implanted in us without our consent. And we will unlearn some of our deeply ingrained habits of perception, thought, and behavior, while practicing spiritual skills for humility, resistance, and solidarity.

Un/Learning for Liberation will run in one cohort, regardless of folks’ previous participation in the program. Content will be different in spring than in the fall term.

Cost and Registration

Registration is on a sliding scale of $250, $300, and $350. People with means are encouraged to pay more. Registration runs through February 26.

Equity note: Regardless of your racial identity, full and partial scholarships are available to those who need them. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Please contact us at belovedconversations@meadville.edu before registering, to request a scholarship.

Reparations note: White participants with the means to do so are encouraged to consider paying an additional $50, in recognition of the historic legacy of racist economic policies and the ways in which generational wealth and greater access to economic opportunity have privileged white people as a group for hundreds of years. These extra funds will go towards providing scholarships to those who need it to participate in this program.

Interdependence note: Regardless of your racial identity, if your class privilege and/or professional expense budget allows you to pay more so that others may pay less, please consider adding an additional contribution to your total. These extra funds will go towards providing scholarships to those who need it to participate in this program.

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