An Uncomfortable Truth 

May 12, 2020

I come to you, my church, to share some distress I hope we can deal with.

At a recent Community and Care Board meeting I had the first in a lifetime experience of being the only white face in the room, my first experience as that particular minority. That says a lot about my life as well as the world we live in. I think it is worth mentioning that the C&C board is meeting by zoom weekly to stay in contact and support each other as we go through this isolation.

As we were discussing our efforts to reach out to every Plymouth member during the pandemic, it came out that the non-white board members had  experienced racially insensitive remarks in some phone calls. As people began to share their experiences of such hurtful remarks, I sat there fully aware that we live in two different realities, even within the walls of the place we worship.

For all my personal efforts to understand our racism in America, I had never been the only one of my race in the room. I had never witnessed the pain and anger and hurt on the faces of my friends as they told their stories. I was uncomfortable, I was tongue tied. My white, fragile brain couldn’t reconcile what I was experiencing. It was a gut punch.

In the days that followed I came to realize what an honor and what a responsibility it was for me to bear witness to their pain. How else do we learn what we don’t experience? Did I say how uncomfortable it was?

I have begun to think of the undercurrent of racism in our lives as comparable to COVID-19, moving silently, malevolently through our world, under the surface, until infections erupt and we see the full force of the epidemic. And we are forced to respond. I think we are at such a moment at Plymouth. I would dearly love to be part of some kind of truth and reconciliation process in our congregation. But however we decide to address this, I feel God’s voice is telling us it is time to face this honestly.

Submitted humbly,

Vicki Schoettle

Topics: Church Life



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