An Adult Deepening Reading List for Advent & Epiphany

This year, United Parish is devoting particular attention to fostering intentional diversity and inclusion in our community. To be able do this important (and often uncomfortable) work authentically and sustainably, we need to ground it in individual efforts to learn and explore more about topics such as white fragility, internalized racism, and experiences of racism in America.    


We are using Advent, a season of preparation and reflection, as a sacred time to bravely embark on this individual learning. As we move into Epiphany, we will gather to share back with one another what our individual 'epiphanies' have been; in the spring, Kent and I will be leading the congregation through a program based on The Pentecost Paradigm: Ten Strategies for Becoming a Multiracial Congregation by Jacqueline J. Lewis & John Janka.  


How to Participate During Advent:  

The Adult Deepening team has prepared a short list of books which center on messages about the racial divide in the U.S. and its myriad historical, political, economic and interpersonal challenges. The list includes books which address racism through a biblical and religious context, as well as through a more secular lens. We invite you to look over the list below and choose at least one book to read during Advent, so that come January we can gather together to share what we've learned.

I also invite you to take a look at this resource list compiled by Anti-Racist activist Rachel Ricketts, which, in addition to books, includes many short-form resources such as online articles and podcast episodes.

This work is so, so important. This work is how we help enact God's Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven, where equity, peace, compassion, and justice are the 'law of the land'. There are times when the gap between the world 'as it is' and the world 'as it ought to be' feels so wide, it's easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed. Think of this as at least one concrete thing you can do that will have a real impact not just in your own heart and soul, but also among and beyond our beloved United Parish community.

The Adult Deepening Ministry Team and I will be reading and reflecting right alongside you, partners in this journey; I'm so grateful to be on this road with you.


In faith and gratitude,



Reading List

Between the World and Me byTa-Nehisi Coates

This award-winning book is written as a letter to the author's teenage son about the feelings, symbolism, and realities associated with being Black in the United States.


I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, the author writes, "I had to learn what it means to love blackness," a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America's racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

The author is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.

United: Captured by God's Vision for Diversity by Trillia J. Newbell

On the Last Day every tongue and tribe will be represented in the glorious chorus praising God with one voice. Yet today our churches remain segregated. The author uses the gospel and her personal stories to inspire, challenge and encourage readers to pursue the joys of diversity today.

Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debbie Irving

The author's awakening to her own whiteness includes looking critically at her beliefs about colorblindness, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As Irving tells her cringe-worthy stories of unconscious white privilege, she also presents the complexity of systematic racism that is still perpetuated in society. 

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

This author explores the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.


Coming Up in 2019: Moving from Awareness to Action To help us plan the all-parish reading of The Pentecost Paradigm: Ten Strategies for Becoming a Multiracial Congregation in early 2019, send a message to if you want us to order a discounted or free copy of the book for you.


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