IF:Gathering Racial Reconciliation Roundtable

Greetings from Austin, TX. Amazing city. Amazing food. Amazing people. Took part in the IF:Gathering yesterday and the day before. Click the link to sign up to hear the sessions. Powerful weekend. The leadership and women I met were humble, down-to-earth, Kingdom-minded warriors. Warm. Welcoming. Brave. Courageous. I’ve always held strong to the belief: you become like those you are around. Grateful for every woman I met. I want to be more like them, because of how I saw Jesus in their lives and in their eyes. I was invited to contribute. Taped several mini Bible studies for IF:Equip and an interview on unity and diversity.

IF:Equip bible studies

IF:Equip bible studies

Yesterday, in a remarkably intimate setting, even though surrounded by 2000 in attendance at the venue and over 20,000 women watching live stream, seven of us discussed the elephant in the room: racial reconcilation. We began unpacking issues of awareness, ethnic diversity (or the lack thereof), racism, unity. The 20 minutes onstage continued for another full hour of taping as we continued to share stories of discrimination and barriers. We sat around a table, looking into each other’s eyes. Through conversation we risked and brought our stories into this space of grace and truth. Our perspectives of the God we love deepened through exposure to each other’s stories.

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Among the many “God’s perfect timing moments,” my article for Today’s Christian Women, “Rocking the Small World Boat” went live right in time for the conference. In it I share about awareness and included resources and tips to help further the conversation. You can click the link to access the article. TCW graciously unlocked the article so IF:Gathering and IF:Local women would have access to the resources.

I’m still turning over in my mind the content, the names, the faces, the experience. Anticipating how God will move, trusting Him for movement in the right direction.

Changed lives. Changed world.

 

Did you participate in the IF:Gathering? If so, I’d love to hear your feedback!

 

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9 thoughts on “IF:Gathering Racial Reconciliation Roundtable

  1. I was so so so excited to see you read a verse then even more excited to see you at the round table. i appreciate your making the comment about how all white girls look alike – that took courage as I often have struggled silently with that and getting people mixed up (even at my own church!) thank you and helen for lovingly and gently speaking truth with such grace. just wish you had more time on air!

    • Thanks, Cathy! We actually taped an additional hour following the 20 minutes on stage. Will let you know when they make that conversation available. :)

  2. Out of 500 women gathered at an IF:Local in OR, I was definitely the elephant in the room. I scanned all weekend for another Asian woman, and I think I saw 1 or 2 others in the entire gathering (weird for me, having just moved from the SF Bay Area!). So when this segment started, I was pleasantly surprised that the IF folks were intentional in talking about racial reconciliation and I loved the format and the honest conversation. Unfortunately, after the prayer, I heard a woman behind me tell her friend that this was a “forced agenda.” I wanted to whip around and tell her that it is every believer’s “agenda” to be agents of reconciliation!

    • Hi Danielle, Thanks so much for taking time to comment. Hello to you in OR! I met some great Asian American women from Portland who attended the conference in Austin. If you’re nearby I’d love to connect you. Cheering you on as you approach this tender topic with many who don’t even know they don’t even know about being an agent of reconciliation.

  3. I was part of an IF: local group in Stockholm, Sweden. While Sweden (and Europe in general) has a lot of racial reconciliation issues, the specifics look very different. It’s more related to Muslim/North African/Middle Eastern immigrants and refugees than it is about black and white and asian issues in the US. For that reason, I was tempted to skip the unity discussion because I expected it to be very American in its focus on the black and white racial issues the US has had since Ferguson, etc.

    I am so glad I didn’t, for one reason only. I could hear the room sigh in relief when you said, “God is not American.” We had 15 Swedes, 4 Americans, 2 Brits, 2 Germans, 1 Syrian and me (a very confusing cultural mix of Sri Lankan-Filipino-Arkansas-Australia). IF: Gathering was such a blessing to all of us, and I believe it will be a blessing to each of the five churches our group of women represented from Stockholm… but it is easy to walk away from it and think “This is what it looks like to be a Christian leader: she has an American accent, her hair curls a certain way and she wears fairly traded jewelry.”

    I am so glad we did not skip the unity discussion, it was a blessing to all of us – thank you for your words, for the truth you shared. It made an impact over here and will be remembered I’m sure.

    • Devi, Hello to you way over in Stockholm! Thank you so much for taking time to share your experience w/ me. Your words blessed me. I love your beautiful blending of cultures and wish I could sit over a cup of coffee and hear more of your story. Thankful to call you sister :)

  4. Thank you for this. I had to watch alone due to childcare issues and enjoyed this segment. I wished I had a group to discuss it with. I’m trying to figure out where God would have me go from here. I tried clicking the article but could only read part of it and then it asked me to subscribe. Do you know if it is still unlocked? Am I missing something? I would like to read the rest.

    • Hi Julie, I understand childcare issues. Glad you were able to still tune in. I will ask the editors about keeping the story unlocked. Please check back in the next day or so. I listed several resources at the end of the article. At some point the articles no longer require subscribing. I will try and post on my Facebook page when they unlock the article.
      Blessings,
      vivian

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