Lent, the 40-day period before Easter, is a time for reflection, confession, and prayer; a time to explore where we have been and what and where God is calling us now. During 2015, America’s attention was drawn again and again to issues and events related to race, racism, and racial inequality. As people of faith, we are challenged to see, to understand, and to respond. To aid us, the Northern California and Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ has recommended several books on race and race relations and is encouraging church members, especially those attending this year’s Annual Gathering, to read at least one of the books.
Pastor Jeff and Pastor Brenda are encouraging everyone at Niles Discovery Church to take up the challenge and are recommending the book Pre-Post Racial America: Spiritual Stories From the Front Lines, the Rev. Sandhya Rani Jha for an all-church read. Rev. Jha is director of the Oakland peace center, an anti-racism/anti-oppression trainer, and a director of interfaith programs for East Bay Housing Organization. The book looks at issues of race, racial justice, and racism from multiple perspectives and from Rev. Jha’s personal experience with the complexities we face today in countering racism.
Copies of the book are available from John Zlatnik for $15. It is also available on Kindle. The Adult Sunday School will be reading the book and discussing it. You are welcome to join them at 9:00 on Sunday mornings.
In addition, Eden United Church of Christ (also doing an all-church read of this book during Lent) welcomes people from Niles Discovery Church to join one of their discussion groups on the book. Their “Seekers” group will discuss the book on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. in the Eden UCC Community Room on February 10, 17, & 24 and March 2, 9, & 16. A second group will meet on five consecutive Sundays in Lent in the Fireside Room at Eden UCC for a soup potluck and book discussion. This group will meet at 6:00 p.m. on February 21 & 28, and March 6, 13, & 20. In keeping with their Lenten spiritual practices, the potluck will be limited to soup and bread. If you can contribute soup, please bring it hot in your own crockpot.
On Sunday, March 20, at 6:00 p.m. in Oliver Hall, Eden United Church of Christ, 21455 Birch Street (at Grove St.), Hayward, the Rev. Jha will give an author talk and answer questions about the book. This author talk is open to everyone and will be the final Lenten Soup Potluck of the series.