New Orleans, Louisiana
Early in the summer of 2020, Mission Reconcile planned a virtual program called “Conversation On: Loving Thy Neighbor,” with the goal of discussing implicit bias. Thinking that the program would have 20-25 participants, founder Kahlida Lloyd began preparing discussion questions. However, the death of George Floyd ignited conversations about race around the country, and Lloyd found that more than 110 people registered for the program. On the day of the conversation, 75 people logged into the virtual meeting to discuss what implicit bias is and how they could begin shifting their own implicit biases. “We had almost ten breakout rooms where people were discussing questions. This showed that people needed a space to have conversations with one another in light of what happened. This was one of those events that helped us keep motivated that this work is needed,” Lloyd said.Woman holding a bright red tumbler with a logo. How fundraiser giveaways help make Mission Reconcile’s work possible Founded in 2017, Mission Reconcile is an organization that creates spaces for spirit-led conversations about race and the impacts of racism. It does this by bringing together churches and other faith communities to foster relationships across racial lines. One of the group’s programs, Path to Reconciliation, brings together two racially homogenous faith communities for three programs meant to deepen relationships and open dialogues between groups that might typically be more insulated. The first step, called a Collaborative Event, involves members of both churches coming together for a multicultural meal, a cultural awareness activity and a moderated panel discussion with both pastors. Then, both congregations participate in what is called a Pulpit Swap. Each is responsible for hosting a visit for the other congregation during worship time, including fellowship with food, music and icebreakers facilitated by Mission Reconcile. The goal of these events is to encourage long-term relationships and bonding to help overcome racial lines. “The truth is, faith communities are still really racially homogenous,” said Lloyd. “But faith communities are also motivated in ways that perhaps other people are not. The idea is, how can we connect that motivation with the real-world divide in our communities?” In another program, Conversation On, Mission Reconcile partners with one faith community to have courageous conversations about topics like racial or social justice. Lloyd recalled wanting to have more conversations like these in her own church growing up. “I grew up in the Christian faith, in the church. Around the time of the Black Lives Matter movement, the church that was so formative in my life was silent on that topic. I wanted to figure out what needed to happen in order to bring about some type of change in that area,” she said. Fundraiser giveaways, like tumblers and tote bags with Mission Reconcile’s logo, help the organization stay self-sustaining so it can continue to offer programs without having to worry about funds. “It’s our fifth birthday, which feels like a milestone birthday. To celebrate, we want to use the items to encourage more monthly donors and say thank you,” Lloyd said.
For more information about Mission Reconcile, please visit https://iamareconciler.org/ opens in new window