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“Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?” —Mark 10:38

Racial Ethnic Dialog with PW in the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic

By Grace Atkinson

The Synod of the Mid-Atlantic PW Dialog Group has engaged in exciting dialogue and other activities since June 2008. The Racial Ethnic Dialog (RED)is intended to help us move into richer relationships across the racial/ethnic lines that often divide us. We have enjoyed success in this endeavor, sharing ideas and creating strategies to achieve common goals.

The workshop “That All Might Be One” that was presented at the PW in the Synod (PWS) summer gathering in 2008 was overwhelmingly successful. The story of the Woman of Samaria, as written by Hilda Peacock, was presented in dramatic fashion with Bonnie Nasar cast as the Samaritan Woman; Hilda Peacock as Jesus; Patricia Orozco and Edna Goshorn as neighbors 1 and 2, respectively; Shelda Wills served as narrator; and Grace Atkinson, Patricia Gill Turner and Frela Beck, as disciples. Segments of the video “Becoming the Beloved Community” served as the focus for modeling and engaging in dialogue within small focus groups.

The Racial Ethnic Dialog Group presented a mini workshop at the March 13–14, 2009 PWS Coordinating Team meeting. Two segments of the video, Becoming the Beloved Community were viewed, after which the CT engaged in dialogue in small groups facilitated by RED members. This activity provided the opportunity for PWS to intentionally find a way for women to share together stories and experiences and dialog as partners in ministry. Also, it enabled us to explore a way of forming an “inclusive, caring community of women” as spoken of in the PW Purpose.

At our PWS Summer Gathering in 2009, we held a workshop called “Together in One Place.” This workshop was designed to enable participants to engage in dialogue that promotes understanding and appreciation of age, ethnicity and gender through faith stories, personal story telling and focus groups that model dialogue. As we expand the process of using dialogue as a tool to engage in meaningful conversation, several members of the group have initiated dialog groups in their presbyteries and/or congregations to address issues of gender, intergeneration, as well as race and ethnicity.

Grace Atkinson