Year of Renewal Events

This page is a sampling of current and past Year of Renewal events we have participated in at First Congregational Church of Webster Groves

Discussion Group Opportunity — The YWCA’s Witnessing Whiteness Program

Read and Discuss the Remarkable Book by Shelly Tochluk Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It This opportunity is part of our EXPLORE process during our Renewal Project (with a bit of LEARN thrown in for good measure). It is funded by the grant from the Lilly Endowment. We will meet at FCCWG on ten Sundays, mid-August through mid-December, at times in the late afternoon or early evening to be determined by the participants.

Our session leader is a trained facilitator who will guide us through a structured, thoughtful process as we think about, talk about, and reflect on our experiences in dealing with the often sensitive issue of relationships among people of different races. Click here for a longer, more detailed description of the sessions is available from the church website.  The August through December session is full. Stay tuned for the upcoming 2018 sesson!

Renewal 2017 – Learning Opportunity
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

PBS will air from 1:00 to 6:00 pm on Sunday, August 6 The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, written and presented by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This documentary moves through five centuries exploring African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent, to the arrival of twenty slaves in Virginia in 1619, right up to today when America had a black president, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race.

Another Renewal 2017 – LEARN Presentation
What Happened in Colfax, Louisiana in 1873? And Why Does It Matter Today?

Adult Education, July 9, 11:30 – 12:30
Joan Musbach – The Inglis Room

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell, 1984

When we were assigned to read 1984, we were likely too immature to understand the portent of its warning. Even if we grasped the meaning, we likely assumed it related to dictatorships, certainly not to countries such as ours. In Hamilton: An American Musical, the ensemble challenges us with the inquiry: “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells the Story?” Napoleon Bonaparte said: “History is written by the winners.” Is this always the case?

What does any of this have to do with Renewal 2017? With racism in America? With the challenges of living as Christians in a multi-racial society? Learn about the events in Colfax Parish, in 1873, and how they have been portrayed in U. S. History up into our own lifetimes. This case study will give you a new understanding of the insidious effects of racism. It matters who tells the story.

Alliance For Interracial Dignity

June 8, 2017 at 7:00 pm
Douglass Manor – 546 N. Elm

The Alliance meets monthly to discuss race and ethnicity. In June the program will be information from a Panel of Organizations with a Social Justice Mission. The Alliance works to bring the community together by learning from our collective past, challenging the racial status quo and building a stronger community.  This is a convenient opportunity to participate in a Renewal 2017 related event.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Sunday, May 21 at 3:00 PM

First Church member Kedra Tolson and her family traveled to Washington, DC, for the grand opening of the museum (also on the Denoons itinerary, this summer). She will share photos, publications and personal insights with us in the Inglis Room on Sunday, May 21, at 3:00 pm. This is a great opportunity for all church members to be part of a Renewal 2017 learning venture. Come, take this journey with Kedra!
Sponsored by SAGE

Missouri History Museum

The ACTivist actor-interpreters are appearing regularly in the #1 in Civil Rights: The African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis exhibition, but you can also catch them in the Grand Hall for special 20-minute performances that offer a longer look at civil rights leaders such as Charlton Tandy, Lucy Delaney, and Fannie Cook. Saturdays, May 13, 20, and 27 at 2:00 pm

Alliance for Interracial Dignity

May 11, 2017 at 7:00 PM
Douglass Manor – 546 N. Elm

The Alliance for Interracial Dignity meets monthly to discuss matters of race and ethnicity. This month the program will be a panel discussion with the North Webster Coalition. The Alliance works to bring the community together by learning from our collective past, challenging the racial status quo and building a stronger community. a Renewal 2017 related event.


Wednesdays through April 5

“Plenty Good Room” is a 6-part series of reflections on scripture and African American Spirituals. Each 45-minute session will study a spiritual in the light of the Gospel, history, tradition, and experience. A concurrent children’s musical program will accompany the series.

Our study series for Lent will continue on Wednesdays through April 5, and will be accompanied by Soup-Salad-Bread Dinners at 6:00 PM. Soup is provided; salads and breads are potluck. Please plan to attend!

“Plenty Good Room” is offered as part of our Year of Renewal 2017.

YEAR of RENEWAL 2017 — A Learn & Explore Opportunity

Cracking the Code: The System of Racial Inequality
A three part series that took place in July, 2017

These three interactive sessions with Dr. Sarah Booth Riss, were based on the video Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity.  This video, portrays the complex interplay between the personal, institutional and systemic factors involved in racial inequality in the US. These sessions will help the participants pull the lens back so we can see the landscape of racialization and how we as individuals are shaped by it. Sarah led us in engaging conversations in a safe and supportive environment. Participants participated in Talk-Heal-Change together. Sarah is a retired Superintendent of the Webster Groves School District. Currently she is a member of the Education Equity Consultants firm. She founded the Alliance for Interracial Dignity, a Webster-based group that uses Talk-Heal-Change to address interracial issues. She is an extremely knowledgeable and engaging speaker and an expert in methods of adult education. Her presentation promises to be a wonderful interactive experience that fits right in with our Year of Renewal goals

A great video that helps to visualize the
Cracking the Code Presentations?

Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequality ­ – sessions, watch the video below.