Saturday, May 5, 2018 // UNION Baptist Church, Manhattan

Workshop Selections

All four workshops are repeated in the morning and afternoon.

A.    Christian Supremacy, White Supremacy: How the Bible was used to promote ideologies of America as a white Christian nation

This discussion will highlight some of the research of Dr. Jeannine Hill Fletcher, Professor of Theology at Fordham University from her new book, The Sin of White Supremacy: Christianity, Racism and Religious Diversity in America (Orbis, 2017). She will explore some of the many dangerous (mis)uses of Scripture in American history: in the dispossession and displacement of Native Peoples, the enslavement of Africans, the exclusion of Asian people from citizenship, and the exploitation of African-Americans and Latino-Americans. The presentation will highlight some of the key theological themes identifiable in these patterns, and the legal and material outcomes of these interpretations. Our discussion will include the use of Christian Scripture and Tradition in the continuing legacies of these patterns in our present moment, and the use of Scripture and Tradition to create a more racially just world.

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Professor Jeannine Hill Fletcher

FACILITATOR: Professor Jeannine Hill Fletcher is a Roman Catholic, constructive theologian whose research is at the intersection of Christian systematic theology and issues of diversity (including gender, race and religious diversity). Her most recent book is entitled, The Sin of White Supremacy: Christianity, Racism and Religious Diversity in America (Orbis, 2017). Other works include Monopoly on Salvation? A Feminist Approach to Religious Pluralism (Continuum, 2005) and Motherhood as Metaphor: Engendering Interreligious Dialogue (Fordham University Press, 2013). She is Professor of Theology at Fordham University, Bronx NY, and board member of the grassroots social justice organization, the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.

B.    Countering the Forces of Displacement

Our neighborhoods and economy are facing major transformation as upper income people are moving back to cities after decades of disinvestment and low income families of color are struggling to retain a foothold. Low wage workers with children and seniors on fixed incomes are feeling the squeeze of rising rents. Immigrants with limited English proficiency or without documentation are among the most vulnerable to evictions, foreclosures, and unstable incomes leading to limited housing options. Incomes have not kept pace at the same rate with rent rising almost twice as fast and home prices rising almost three times as fast as incomes, according to census data, leading to displacement, homelessness and overcrowding of families across the country.

Given these trends, we are called to protect the rights of low-income families in “hot markets” and contested spaces, and counter the forces of forces of gentrification. This workshop will offer proactive and impactful strategies, tools, and initiatives to generate a national conversation, and leverage our collective wisdom to shape anti-displacement legislation and keep our cities inclusive and diverse.

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The Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera

FACILITATOR: The Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera is Senior Pastor of Sanctuary Church and President of the Latino Pastoral Action Center (LPAC). Since 1964, Dr. Rivera has served as pastor, preacher, denominational executive, organization founder, and community builder. Throughout this time, he has modeled Christ-centered holistic ministry, particularly in an urban context. In 1992, he founded LPAC, which started as a division of the Manhattan-based NYC Mission Society, the city’s oldest and largest social service agency. LPAC began as Dr. Rivera struggled with the dichotomy of the secular versus the sacred. His vision was to develop an organization that dealt with social justice issues from a holistic perspective, thus merging the two. Over the years, he has provided leadership development and technical assistance to hundreds of churches and faith-based organizations around the country. Dozens of these organizations have developed holistic community-based ministries, including spiritual care, after-school, youth development, and adult education programs. Ultimately, Dr. Rivera strives to strengthen the four pillars of community life: families, schools, community-based organizations, and churches. Dr. Rivera is the author of the book Liberty to the Captives: Our Call to Minister to A Captive World and founder of Family Life Academy Charter Schools. He also leads the Interfaith Housing Round Table.

C.    Legacy Planning

People are vulnerable to accidents, illness, injury, economic downturns, unemployment and underemployment, nursing home accommodations, incapacitation and death. Have you thought about what can do now to prepare for these unexpected events? Legacy planning is a proactive way to put your affairs in order. It helps you think about your life and how you responsibly lead it. This workshop will help you develop your legacy plan and reflect upon the consequences when we fail to develop one. This workshop will engage participants in exercises of disclosure, courage, and trust.

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Suzette Morales Rutherford, Esq.

FACILITATOR: Suzette Morales Rutherford, Esq. is the founder of Suzette Morales Rutherford, Esq. Attorney, seminarian, and president of BNI BIG Chapter, Suzette has been in legal practice for over 15 years. As the daughter of Panamanian immigrants who moved to New York to pursue the immigrant dream or the American Dream, she honors their legacy and serves the underserved through financial education, empowerment, development, and legal service. Both of Mrs. Rutherford's parents died of cancer, which devastates communities and families worldwide. Her parents instilled in her discipline, family values, a drive for education and a love of God. Her mission is to direct awareness to the disparity in attaining wealth. She attended Brooklyn educational institutions including P.S. 222, Walt Whitman J.H.S., New Utrecht High School, NYC College of Technology and Brooklyn Law School.

D.    Sexuality, Power, and Boundaries in the Body of Christ

In the #MeToo and #TimesUp environment in which we find ourselves, it is (again) time for the church to engage in difficult conversations that will help us gain greater awareness and attain better skills to protect persons from sexual harassment, assault, and abuse. People of faith are now rightly concerned or nervous about ways to appropriately engage interpersonally. This workshop will provide a constructive learning opportunity for all of us to learn how to have conversations about sexuality, power, and boundaries in the Body of Christ because the church too needs to join the conversation.

Using power analyses, practical and theological methods, Rev. Kym McNair will provide a learning opportunity to help participants recognize and respond to violence, abuse and harassment in their professional, church and personal lives.

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The Rev. Kymberly E. McNair

FACILITATOR: The Rev. Kymberly E. McNair comes from a family of community organizers and has continued the tradition in her work with CONNECT Faith in their Safe Church Ending Child Sexual Abuse project, and the Children of Combahee, which mobilizes against child sexual abuse in Black churches using Womanist pastoral and theological methods.

Rev. McNair has taught at the College of New Rochelle’s School of New Resources, The Abyssinian Institute of Abyssinian Baptist Church and at Shiloh Baptist Church in New Rochelle, New York. In addition to her classroom experience, Rev. McNair is also a workshop and retreat facilitator.

In her roles as the Associate Minister at Antioch Baptist Church in Bedford Hills, NY and the Minister of Community Education and Engagement at Bedford Presbyterian Church in Bedford, New York she coordinates community events including book discussions, Undoing Racism workshops, and community meals, and facilitates workshops and panel discussions. 

Rev. McNair is a recipient of the Harriet Tubman Legacy Award from The Greater Centennial AME Zion Church and in 2017 she was honored by the American Jewish Committee Westchester/Fairfield for her community work on behalf of faith communities.