The human spirit is beautifully resilient, but that doesn’t mean we live a life free from suffering or pain. However, in the midst of our struggles we can experience a liberating shift within ourselves-- one that embraces our imperfections, sheds our narratives of shame, and frees us to live wholeheartedly. Come join two of our leaders from The Open Table, Tony Beyer and Garrett Brown, as they lead a conversation that takes us through Dr. Brene Brown’s work on how we can build empathy, self-compassion and vulnerability in ways that empower us to live authentically.
Jesus’ ethos broke the myth of redemptive violence, and offered humanity an alternative way forward. He centered his life’s work around telling stories of redemption. Our storytelling hour will feature ways we have broken the cycles of violence in our own lives, and how that led to hope and resurrection. We’ll hear from several people in our community and then have some time for small group sharing!
The Poor People’s Campaign was formed in 1968 because Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others saw how poverty was interrelated to both racism and the war economy. His analysis was that in order to remake the whole of American society, the nation’s poor would need to come together to tackle the triple evils of poverty, racism, and the war economy. Today, nearly 140 million people are either poor or low income, and this touches all demographics. Rev. Dr. Tex Sample, pastor at Trinity United Methodist and professor Emeritus at Saint Paul School of Theology, will facilitate a discussion about poverty, faith, and the need to come together to fight poverty, not the poor.
Racism is the United States' original sin, and it continues today, but in different forms. Slavery, lynching, segregation, Jim Crow laws, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, and unjust policing practices are just some examples of how systemic racism has shifted over time. Today, 23 states have adopted voter suppression laws, 25 states have pre-empted cities from raising the minimum wage, and the prison population has ballooned to 1.5 million people, with people of color accounting for 66% of the prison population, despite making up only 39% of the total population. Rev. Rodney Williams, pastor of Swope Parkway United Christian Church, will facilitate a discussion on the long-lasting effects of racism, and the work that is being done to undo systemic racism in all its forms.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” The current annual military budget, at $668 billion, dwarfs the $190 billion allocated for education, jobs, housing and other basic services. Out of every dollar in federal discretionary spending, 53 cents goes towards the military and only 15 cents is spent on anti-poverty programs. Sr. Barbara McCracken, nun and activist from Mount Saint Scholastica, will join us for a discussion on this evil the Poor People’s Campaign seeks to address.
Did you know that low income households spend seven times as much of their paycheck on water bills as wealthy households? And in areas like Flint, MI, the water that is getting piped in is still toxic? The Poor People’s Campaign recognizes that ecological devastation is ruining our planet and has a disproportionate effect on poor communities and communities of color. Jordan Schiele and Sunny Hamrick of Jerusalem Farm will join us for a discussion on why the Poor People’s Campaign is tackling ecological devastation as one of this national movement’s goals. We will also be looking at Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si, as a way to talk about how climate change intersects with poverty, racism, and the war economy.
50 years ago, Dr. King launched a human rights movement that brought together folks around a common cause, to end the various forms of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism that kept many from living a life of abundance. This year, the Poor People's Campaign is being resurrected! Join us for an evening of discussion, storytelling, and calls to action around these important issues. We will be joined by members of Stand Up KC, Rev. Eric Garbison, and more.
We often miss the political nature of Jesus’ actions on Palm Sunday, and the ways Jesus flipped the script on what a messiah looked like. Rev. Dr. Wallace Hartsfield II, professor of Hebrew Scriptures at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, will join us for a discussion on the nature of Jesus’ actions on Palm Sunday and the message those actions hold for us today.
As we begin our Lenten series, Breaking the Cycle of Violence, we are starting with a conversation about what Jesus’ death on the cross meant 2,000 years ago. Was Jesus’ death really necessary to appease an angry God, or did it mean something else entirely? Join us as we welcome Dr. David May, professor of New Testament studies at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, who will lead a discussion on what Jesus’ death has meant to people experiencing oppression.
As more white folks are drawn back to the city, individuals and developers are buying up land, businesses, and housing stock. This development displaces people of color, resulting in a cultural & historical loss and perpetuating economic disparities. Are we breaking down the Troost divide or simply pushing it further east? Join us for a conversation with Hakima Payne, director and founder of Uzazi Village, Sandra Enriquez, Director of Public History and Asst. Professor of History at UMKC, and Angela Martellaro, local real estate agent and SURJ member, for a conversation about gentrification and gentrifiers.
Institutional discrimination and systemic oppression negatively impact marginalized people in myriad ways, from racism to sexism and classism to heterosexism. It can be dizzying to sort out all of the ways in which dominant groups leverage power that damage disenfranchised groups. It can be even more challenging to build connections between different oppressed groups. Join us for an important conversation about racism and intersectionality--and what we can all do to challenge the status quo. We will be joined by PaKou Her, a local community organizer and anti-racism trainer/facilitator.
Jesus was a person of color who was born under an oppressive Roman regime, and when Jesus launched his ministry at age 30, he started by declaring freedom for the captives! This message of liberation and hope has animated the church in poor and marginalized communities all over the world! This Advent season, we are continuing our series on race with a conversation about liberation theology and reading the Christmas story through the eyes of the oppressed. Father Turbo Qualls, Deacon of St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Christian Church, will be our guest teacher.
Many in our country deny being racist, but our speech and actions can communicate a different message. Join us as Rev. Jose Martinez, founder of Missio KC, facilitates a conversation about the ways our language and actions can perpetuate unhealthy narratives and racism.
Colin Kaepernick took a knee on an NFL field to protest structural racism, which sparked a national debate about what racism is, especially in the post-civil rights era. It is vital for communities to have a common understanding of what racism is and how it is expressed i?n order to move forward in the work to undo structural forms of racism. Join us as we welcome Kiku Brooks, co-chair of MORE2’s Criminal Justice Task Force, for a primer on what racism and privilege are, as well as why the Christian community needs to be active in the work against racism.
Racism has been deeply embedded in both society and religion, so how can we take part in the righting of the wrongs of generations both past and present? Join us for the first installment of our fall/winter series on race, a conversation about how racism has evolved over time in both the church and society. We will be joined by two Saint Paul School of Theology professors, Dr. Angela Sims and Dr. Nancy Howell, for this important conversation.
Social movements have dramatically changed how governments operate around the globe, yet some question the use of grassroots organizing and protest to achieve reform and revolution. Join us for a storytelling hour where we will be joined by Rev. Susan McCann, Rev. Nia Chandler, Rev. Dr. Vernon Percy Howard Jr., and Rev. Eric Garbison who will speak about their experiences behind bars, their theology of protest, and how they stay grounded through the practice of Sabbath.
Wendie Brockhaus, Riley Brown, and Nick Pickrell shared stories of how music served as a source of resurrection, of new life, at various stages of our lives.
Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk, deeply cared for those affected by war, poverty, and marginalization. From the walls of his monastery, he influenced a generation of Christians to walk alongside the poor while maintaining one’s inner life through practices like solitude. Sr. Therese Elias, OSB, will offer her reflections on Thomas Merton’s life and spiritual practices, from solitude to solidarity.
Nick Pickrell recently spoke at Redemption Church in Olathe, KS. Listen to hear about how humanity's propensity to categorize people is actually a double-edged sword.
Seventy years ago, Gandhi inspired a nation under occupation to gain its independence through noncooperation and nonviolence. What lessons can we learn from this historic social movement, and how can the Gandhian program inform our own spiritual formation in the Christian tradition? Join us for a conversation with Adam Campbell, founder of the Peace and Permaculture Center and member of the Possibility Alliance, as we explore the ways Gandhi balanced political action and constructive social programs with a deep commitment to mindfulness self-transformation.
Many mystics were once labeled as outcasts and rebels because they went against the norms of their time, but today we celebrate them as spiritual giants. Come take a journey with us through the history of Christian spirituality. Wendie Brockhaus, Assistant Curator of The Open Table, will kick off our summer series as we explore both old and new ways to practice an ancient faith in today's context.
Why does “all are welcome” only seem to apply to straight people in many churches? We all need a community that will welcome and support us throughout our life’s journey, but unfortunately the church has not always been a safe place for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ+). Join us for dinner and conversation with Rev. Donna Simon from St. Mark’s Hope and Peace, as she discusses how the actions of the church have affected the LGBTQ community, and how we can create a space where people feel welcome no matter who/whom they love.
Environments speak just as loudly as words—just because we have a wheelchair ramp doesn’t mean we are truly accessible for persons with disabilities. How do we become the kind of church which invites all into community, engagement, and leadership? Join us as we welcome Rev. Letiah Fraser, local disability rights activist, who will challenge us to rethink what our words and actions communicate.
God has called on Christians over the ages to welcome the stranger, but today our airwaves are filled with a narrative of exclusion and hate. Join us as we welcome Rev. Orlando Gallardo, Associate Pastor of Trinity Community Church in Kansas City, KS, as he shares with us about his own journey as an immigrant in America.
With the recent Muslim ban and attacks towards Jewish centers around the country, it is vitally important for people to come together to show how we can be in mutual, positive relationships with people of different religious and nonreligious traditions. Join us for a panel discussion where we will explore the ways faith traditions perpetuate division, and how we can build a path toward peace and reconciliation.