Week 1: Start the Conversation

As we begin Black History Month, start by considering why this month is worth honoring and celebrating. Below is a blog written by Gwen Walker, a long-time CCC member who has contributed so much to our church. We’re so grateful for her willingness to share her knowledge and experiences with others.


Why Black History Month Matters

By Gwendolyn Walker

In August 2012, I was among a group of 54 people from Christ Community Chapel, with several of our staff, who made a journey to the South to learn about the history of the civil rights movement. On this bus trip, we traveled to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati then to the cities of Birmingham, Alabama, and Memphis, Tennessee. Each of us was paired with a person of a different race to sit together, experience the planned events, and discuss the impact. It was an opportunity to encounter and experience the history of the civil rights movement with someone from another background. This four-day tour of memorials and landmarks was called “Sankofa” (a West African word that means looking backward to move forward). The purpose of the trip was to educate and motivate disciples of Christ toward a righteous response to racial division in society and in the Church. As believers, we are called to the ministry of reconciliation, which includes being reconciled to God and to one another.

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The Beautiful Community by Dr. Irwyn Ince Jr

Join other CCC members and staff as they read this impactful book and then gather virtually to discuss. In The Beautiful Community, pastor and theologian Irwyn Ince boldly unpacks the reasons for racial division in the Church while gently guiding us toward our true hope for wholeness and reconciliation.

The book club will meet over Zoom on Mar. 1, 7:30–8:30 p.m. Register below for details and a Zoom link.

Register For Virtual Book Club

Pick up your copy of The Beautiful Community from the Heartwood Cafe in our Atrium or order it on Amazon.

Week 2: Ruby Bridges

During the second week of February, take time to learn about civil rights activist, Ruby Bridges. Ruby Bridges was the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis on November 14, 1960. Ruby is 66 years old and lives in New Orleans today.

Watch the movie Ruby Bridges on Disney+ or Amazon Prime with friends or family and then spend time discussing the questions below. This movie is rated PG and is family-friendly, but please note there are scenes of explicit racism.

Discussion Questions

  • What role did her and her family’s faith play in her life?
  • What stands out to you in her story?
  • How do you wish you were more like Ruby?

To learn more about Ruby’s faith, check out this article from Christianity Today.

Thoughts or questions on this topic? Reach out to Mike.Holwerda@ccchapel.com.

Week 3: Harriet Tubman

This week, watch the story of heroic abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Harriet shares stories of her escape from slavery through the dangerous missions she led to liberate hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad.

Watch on Amazon Prime or Hulu and then discuss with friends or family. Please note that Harriet is rated PG-13 for some intense scenes including violence, profanity, and racism. Use your discretion if watching with little ones.

Discussion Questions

  • What role did her faith play in her life?
  • What stands out to you in the movie?
  • How do you wish you were more like Harriet?

Thoughts or questions on this topic? Reach out to Mike.Holwerda@ccchapel.com.

Week 4: Redemption – The John M. Perkins Story

This documentary shares the story of John M. Perkins, a man who fled Mississippi after his brother was murdered due to racial violence. In 1960 he returned and was a major leader in the civil rights movement, experiencing harassment, imprisonment, and extended beatings by white police officers.

In “Redemption,” John M. Perkins shares his experiences while asking the difficult questions of how racism, violence, and discrimination can still be happening in America and around the world. Though he has been targeted for the color of his skin, he continues to fight for redemption in his own life and community.

Watch this 20-minute documentary on YouTube.

Discussion Questions

  • What role did his faith play in his life?
  • What stands out to you in his story?
  • How do you wish you were more like John?

Thoughts or questions on this topic? Reach out to Mike.Holwerda@ccchapel.com.

Keep the Conversation Going

  • Don’t forget to sign up for The Beautiful Community Book Club, meeting over Zoom from 7:30–8:30 p.m. on March 1. Get your book in the Heartwood Cafe or order it on Amazon.
  • Continue expanding your knowledge of racial awareness by checking out our Racial Awareness Resources Page. They will stretch, teach, and help you understand in a deeper way.
  • As a church, we consider how Racial Intelligence matters in everything we do. Our RQ Team includes Mike and Kristina Holwerda, Richard White, Gwen Walker, Bill and Theresa Fitzgerald, Chris Jones, Danae Redding, Steve and Sandy Bartlett, Emmanuel and Mary Agbovi, Ben and Katey Cochran. Together, they continually research and learn, expanding their understanding of how race might change one’s experiences, and share that knowledge with the church. Want to know more? Reach out to Mike.Holwerda@ccchapel.com.