Resources for Engaging in Racial Justice Work

Pray Their Names Initiative

The Pray Their Names Heart Installation is moving around the Conference. The Installation was dedicated at Niles Discovery Church September 2 after having spent two weeks at First Congregational Church in Santa Rosa. Created in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, Pray Their Names offers both the hosting church and the community a a stunning appeal for attention to lives lost to police violence. All are invited to visit the installation as it moves around the Conference and churches interested in hosting the display for a two-week period should email Rev. Curran Reichert.  The installation includes a Pray Their Names liturgy of dedication. Locations for Pray Their Names throughout 2020 include:
  • Niles Discovery Church, September 2-20, 36600 Niles Blvd, Fremont
  • Island United Church, September 23-October 14, 1130 Balclutha Dr., Foster City
  • Community Church of Mill Valley (UCC) and Mt. Tam Church (UMC), October 17-30, 410 Sycamore Avenue, Mill Valley
  • UCC Petaluma, November 2-28, 825 Middlefield Drive, Petaluma
  • UCC Sebastopol, December 2-18, 1000 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol
Donations to help with the cost of this project are welcomed. You can send checks to the church at First Congregational Church, 252 West Spain St. Sonoma, Ca 95476. Please include “Pray Their Names” in the memo. Pray Their Names Facebook page for updated information.
They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds. Inspired by what our churches in Sonoma and Santa Rosa are doing but not able to host their installation? Want to do something right now? We have an option for you! As part of our ongoing intention to keep the important work of #blacklivesmatter at the center of our faith journeys and to continue to deepen the commitments of our faith communities to racial justice, conference volunteers have put together DIY kits in the spirit of the Praying Their Names installation (see above) and inspired by a Black Spring solidarity action created by BLM in 2015. Communities are invited to use the provided templates to make paper flowers with the names and pictures of black and brown people who have been killed by the police at their center and to “plant them” as a public witness and remembrance. This witness invites us to remember and grieve the deaths of these beloved kin in such a way that they rise and grow into actions of justice and commitments to end white supremacy and become anti-racist. How can we take up our part in the unfolding story of God’s resurrecting love by ending the state-sanctioned violence against black and brown communities and committing to the rising up of justice and equity? The kits include templates and instructions for flower making, names and images to use, ideas for ways your community can engage the installation, worship resources, and suggested action steps your community might take. Download the kits and additional resources to get your whole community involved in Praying Their Names!

Educational Resources

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
  • How to be An Antiracist by Ibram Kendi
  • Kindred by Octavia Butler
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
  • My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Path To Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon To White America by Michael Eric Dyson
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • These Wilds Beyond Our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home by Bayo Akomolafe
  • This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua.
The 1619 Project  by the New York Times

Additional Racial Justice Resources

Former President Obama, Michelle Obama, John Lewis, Jessie Jackson, and Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III all stressed the importance of folks getting out and voting. With that in mind, we invite you to participate in THE BIG SEND – a virtual “Get Out the Vote” letter writing party sponsored by our Conference. The goal of this non-partisan event is to increase voter turn-out, all across the nation, so the will of the people can prevail.