An essential principle of the Absalom Jones Center is that the ministry of racial healing must have a spiritual foundation. Catherine Meeks, the Center’s Executive Director, teaches that sustaining a ministry in dismantling racism demands a life-long program in spiritual formation. To this end, she has asked the Rev. Kenneth Swanson to develop a new prayer discipline to support those involved in racial healing. The first class, with ten clergy participating, was held in the autumn of 2019.
The next class will be on Zoom, beginning December 14, 2020, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. The class will meet every two weeks for two hours. There will be seven sessions. Every session will have an hour of small group work to discuss the practice of each discipline, followed by an hour of learning a new discipline and its historical and theological context. For the duration of the course, every participant must commit to attend each two-hour session, dedicate an hour a day to practice the disciplines, do the assigned reading, and keep a prayer journal.
Everyone who wishes to take this course must contact Ken Swanson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Clergy from the Diocese of Atlanta who complete the course will get 20 hours of continuing education credit.
December 14: White Privilege and the History of Racism in America
December 28: The Prayer of Examen and Spiritual Autobiography
January 11: The Prayer of Oblation
January 25: The Examination of Sin
February 8: The Exploration of Virtue
February 22: The Circle of Forgiveness
March 8: The Way Forward
What people are saying about the class:
“My experience in this course was truly rewarding and eye-opening… My prayer life was deepened and I was able to develop the discipline of self-examination in a new light. Everyone who is serious about dismantling racism should take this course.”
– The Rev. Canon John Thompson-Quartey, Canon for Ministry, Diocese of Atlanta
“I attended a very in-depth on Spiritual Formation for Dismantling Racism guided by the Rev. Kenneth Swanson. It was a deep dive into self and racism. It was an examination of racism, its history and an exploration of conscious spiritual maturity. I would highly recommend this course to others.”
– The Ven. Juan Sandoval, Archdeacon, Diocese of Atlanta
“I thank God for guiding me to be part of this group, especially with its director Father Kenneth who directs us with great wisdom and guides us in the form of this discipline. This was a great opportunity for me, thanks be to God.”
– The Rev. Mimi Guerra, Associate Rector for Hispanic Ministry, Christ Church, Norcross, GA
“This class resurrected deep-seated, long-forgotten memories of personal racial incidents and assisted me in addressing feelings of desperation, anger and resolving a loss of hope. Through the Prayer of Examen, I can now move spiritually toward genuine racial reconciliation.”
– The Ven. Janet Tidwell, Archdeacon, Diocese of Atlanta
“The spiritual practices offered in the class grounded me in how to better repent of my own racism and find the freedom to live a more anti-racist life. Viewing racism as the sin it is was helpful so that I can learn how God deals with sin, and heals us from it. It was a touchstone moment for me on my spiritual journey and my continuing education on how to dismantle racism.”
– The Rev. Jeff Jackson, Rector, St. Margaret’s, Carrolton, GA