CHHSM’s ‘Reason to Have Hope: A Public Health Response to Racism’ Course Now Online

Reason to Have Hope: A Public Health Response to Racism — a multi-part, online, interactive, and highly adaptable course created by CHHSM — is now online! It is being released today (June 18) ahead of and in recognition of the Juneteenth holiday.

“We are thrilled to offer ‘Reason to Hope’ as a means of helping churches and CHHSM members discern next steps in the journey to becoming Anti-Racist,” said the Rev. Dr. Elyse Berry, CHHSM’s associate for advocacy and leadership development, and author of the Anti-Racism curriculum. “It is our hope that folks within local congregations and CHHSM organizations can go through the course together, utilize the reflection questions to start conversations, and learn from each other’s life experiences connected to the material.”

The innovative, user-friendly, self-paced course is geared for a group learning environment. It includes history, current events, theology, stories of resilience, and the intersections of race and social issues to help members of faith-based organizations and local churches learn from not only the material, but each other. It is geared toward helping participants “gain clarity on what a next action step might look like for them, personally, within their congregation or organization, or within their city or state,” Berry added.

This virtual course is intended to support people in all settings of the church gain a deeper understanding of the harm that racism and white supremacy have on health and well-being. The material focuses on the systemic causes of health disparities for People of African Descent, Indigenous Peoples, and other People of Color, and how the work of health equity is tied to liberation for all.

Reason to Have Hope approaches the material with deep theological grounding. It details painful realities, but also relates stories of humanity, resistance and solutions from lived experience. It begins with a foundation on approaching racism as a public health crisis, and then dives into specific issues and topics. The final lessons offer a variety of approaches to inspire ways to take action in your own ministries and work.

Prayer pauses throughout the course provide a way to help you slow down, rest, and listen. The course concludes with a Benediction of Belonging.

“The culmination of this course is not to have everything figured out, or to understand every aspect of racism,” Berry said. “Rather, it offers us more tools to build the City of God together.”

This course grew out of the Resolution of Witness declaring racism as a public health crisis that CHHSM and the UCC Council on Racial and Ethnic Ministries (COREM) are bringing to UCC General Synod delegates this summer.

“We believe ‘Reason to Have Hope’ provides the foundation for all UCC congregations and CHHSM members to move forward in becoming Anti-Racist,” said Michael J. Readinger, president and CEO of CHHSM. “By becoming Anti-Racist, we can we build a more just, caring, and compassionate world.”

Register for “Reason to Have Hope.”

Read more about the course.

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CHHSM Board and Staff are grieved to learn of the death of our friend and colleague, Greg Watson, who died in October 2022. Greg was vice president of operations for Embrace Living Communities, based in Oak Brook, Ill.Greg was a graduate of CHHSM’s Nollau Leadership Institute, class of 2018-2019, and was consecrated as a Diakonal Minister during our 2019 Annual Gathering in Chicago. In an article about his class in June 2018 — not long after the group’s first retreat — Greg said, “The best part is not only beginning the process of clarifying your calling; but also, understanding and accepting one’s personal strength. Recognition of one’s ‘true' self enables us to serve from a place of wholeness.”Greg also served on the CHHSM Board of Directors, and was a beloved friend and colleague to many in the CHHSM family. Embrace Living stated on its website, “Greg was an outstanding servant leader for 17 years at Embrace Living Communities. He will be greatly missed.”CHHSM sends its prayers and love to Greg’s friends, family, and Embrace Living colleagues. ... See MoreSee Less
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