Love thy neighbor: Jesus and Racial Reconciliation

Over seventy people gathered in the Gethsemane Episcopal parish hall on Saturday, February 18, 2017, for a discussion on systemic injustice, white privilege, historic wounds, and future steps to healing. Those attending were college students, professors from local universities, clergy, and parish members.

The event consisted of a series of short talks, followed by a series of table discussions. Father Jim Warnock called the meeting to together. Katie Karnehm-Esh, author, and English professor, presented a personal reflection on matters of race and white privilege. Bill Munn, Grant County Historian, spoke on historic wounds and their effect on the local community, and Josh Molnar, candidate for the order of deacons, spoke of Jesus teaching in the “Sermon on the Plains.” Dr. Rusty Hawkins of IWU gave the keynote dealing with the church’s response to racism.

Video of these talks are available online at
Rev. Shonda Gladden of Allen Temple AME Church and Bishop Doug Sparks of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana attended as special guests and observers.

The talks and discussions were set in a litany of repentance led by parishioner Aimee Molnar. Kresha Warnock, early childhood educator and Kathy Satterlee, elementary teacher, planned and directed children’s activities for the day.

Lunch was prepared by members of the parish and served by Jane and Larry Slagle.

The keynote speaker for this event Dr. Rusty Hawkins. Hear his address above

“J. Russell (Rusty) Hawkins graduated from Wheaton College (IL) in 1999. After taking an M.A. in American History from Montana State University, Rusty served for a year with AmeriCorps as a literacy program coordinator in the public schools of Boston, Massachusetts. He earned his Ph.D. in American History from Rice University in 2009.

In 2013 Rusty and his co-editor, Philip Luke Sinitiere published Christians and the Color Line: Race and Religion after Divided by Faith (Oxford University Press). The book was drawn from papers delivered at a 2010 conference that Rusty organized at Indiana Wesleyan University to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith’s book, Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America…

Rusty is currently finishing a book manuscript titled Sacred Segregation: White Evangelicals and Civil Rights in South Carolina, which is under contract with Louisiana State University Press…”

Indiana Wesleyan University

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