Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers and tape
- Recent congregational newsletters
- Optional: Congregational member directory
Preparation for Activity
- Gather information about any recent or current congregational social and racial justice activities. These can include international solidarity efforts but, if possible, focus on activities based in your own community.
- Invite religious professionals and/or lay leaders to join the group in conducting and analyzing the audit.
- Before launching the group, consider how the audit might be done. Possibilities include interviewing social action committee members and/or other congregational members (taking notes or using video or audio recording) and reviewing archived newsletters. What help might the group need from adults?
- Arrange for the group to submit an article to your congregational newsletter or website to share the findings from this audit.
Description of Activity
Dismantling racism requires not only that each of us act as an ally, but also that we join to make an institutional response. In concert with adult members, participants can help make your congregations more welcoming and more assertive in its social and racial justice actions.
The driving question for a congregational audit is a Window Question: How can our congregation act as social and racial justice allies? Lead the group in an audit to determine when, where, why and how the congregation acts or can begin to act as a social and racial justice ally in the local community.
Invite participants to help shape a format for an audit of the congregation's recent and current social and racial justice work. The group might decide to survey congregational members about their involvement, interview people for an article in the congregation newsletter and/or create a photo essay.
Work as a group to identify, through the newsletters or conversations with members, your congregations' committees, funds, initiatives or partnerships that promote social and racial justice. Identify sources, including people in the congregation who are involved in solidarity activities. Help them formulate questions about the motivation for the social or racial justice work, why activists think it is important, and how the activists hope to be effective. Consider some of these questions:
- What social and racial justice projects are the congregation or any of its members involved in?
- How many are about local issues? (local meaning your town, county or nearest big city)
- How many are about national or global issues?
- How did it come about that the congregation got involved with these particular issues?
- What results feel like success in this effort?
- What other social and racial justice issues do you care about that the congregation has not yet addressed?
- Are there any issues for which you would like to work as an ally?
After the audit is complete, process the results as a group. Ask the children:
- Do you want to see an issue tackled that has not been addressed?
- Are there any issues for which you would like to work as an ally? How could we get started?
Invite and help the children to write an item for the congregation's newsletter or website to share their findings-and suggestions for future projects-with members.
Including All Participants
Be sure every child has a role in designing and conducting the congregational audit. Participants who are not comfortable with an assignment to interview adults or older youth may prefer a visual arts, writing, research or other behind-the-scenes role.