Matthew 25 Curriculum from the PC (USA)

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At the invitation of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, Stony Point Center and Johnson C Smith Seminary have partnered to develop the Matthew 25 Curriculum. The curriculum will offer both on-line and in-person learning opportunities for Presbyterians who desire to develop skills and build capacity to nurture vital congregations, dismantle structural racism, and work to end systemic poverty.

Cost: No participant will be turned away due to an inability to pay. Suggested donations are $40 - $160 per course. For those with the means to pay, participants are asked to determine their own donation based on their own economic situation. Each class will have a suggested range based on the number of classes, and the cost of providing content for that particular course. 

In general, please use the following guide to help you in determining an appropriate donation:

  • No payment or below minimum – due to special circumstances that make it impossible for you to pay
  • Minimum in the range – for single people making below $30,000 per year.
  • Low Range – for those making $30,000 to $50,000 per year
  • Mid-Range – for those who make $50,000 to $70,000 per year
  • Maximum in the range – for those who make more than $70,000 per year

To register and donate, click the "Register Today" box on this page. Follow all the prompts through to the end of the process. When your registration is complete, you will be presented with the question "How Would You Like to Support?" This time, click the "Make a Donation" box, and follow the prompts to the end to pay the registration fee you feel you can afford. After you have registered and/or donated, simply exit the page and be sure to watch your email for your confirmation receipt(s) and additional information. 

All course offerings in 2020 will be offered online. The first course, "Awakening to Structural Racism," is designed as a weekly cohort experience that will allow learners to process course content in the context of small communities of trust.

Subsequent M25 courses will be offered in two different learning formats, offering participants the option of participating in weekly online learning cohorts, or of engaging the material independently on the learner’s own time. Each course will integrate a liberatory reading of biblical text and a practice of theological reflection. 

Note: Interested participants are strongly encouraged to register in groups of three or more from the same community in order to support one another in processing new ideas and encouraging shared action in their faith community. Pastors who are familiar with course material may find it useful to take the course together with key members of their churches or new worshipping communities. 

Method: Participants can choose from two learning formats (for all but "Awakening to Structural Racism"), but must commit to carrying out all of the classes in that course using the format they choose. All participants should expect to spend approximately 3 hours per week, regardless of the learning format they choose: 

  • Weekly, Online Classes – these classes will be two hours in length offered by zoom at a fixed time each week. Each session will be divided between roughly 25% new content offered by a practitioner, 25% biblical and theological study and 50% small group discussion in the learning cohort.
  • Individual Learning – material covered in class will be formatted appropriately to engage asynchronous participants who choose to cover the course material at their own pace and on their own schedule.

Typical online Class Agenda:

  • Building a learning community of trust – But one cohort agrees to be publicly viewed
  • Biblical Study – With one bible study leader or maybe a team that takes turns
  • Content Presentation – Provided by a practitioner who has direct experience that is salient to the topic at hand
  • Reflection – Through Learning Cohort conversations engaging the presentation and in which participants help to support one another and to hold one another accountable to the material

Learning Cohorts: Participants who choose to participate in the weekly zoom classes in “real-time” will be assigned to a learning cohort of 8 - 10 people. Roughly forty-five minutes of each class will be dedicated to building trust with one another and engaging one another about the material. At least one cohort in each class will be made up of participants who are willing to have their discussions be recorded and shared with learners who want to engage the course material later. Learning cohorts will be encouraged (but not required) to meet between sessions and to continue to support one another following course completion.

Facebook Group: Course facilitators will begin a closed Facebook Group for course participants who desire to ask questions, share ideas, or ruminate together with the broader roster of course participants. This is not a course requirement.

Note – Stony Point Center and Johnson C Smith Seminary reserve the right to remove participants who are disruptive to the group learning experience.

Course M25 101: Awakening to Structural Racism

Course Description

This class is designed for those whose awareness of the dynamics of structural racism is being awakened due to the uprisings in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade, and for those who have been aware of these dynamics and who desire a brave space in which to more deeply explore their own participation in systems of white supremacy. 

Cost: suggested donation is $40 to $160 for this course, which is made up of four online classes. No participant will be turned away based on inability to make a donation. For those with the means to pay, participants are asked to determine their donation amount based on their own economic situation. 

In general, please use the following guide to help you in determining an appropriate donation:

  • No payment or below minimum – due to special circumstances that make it impossible for you to pay
  • Minimum in the range – for single people making below $30,000 per year.
  • Low Range – for those making $30,000 to $50,000 per year
  • Mid-Range – for those who make $50,000 to $70,000 per year
  • Maximum in the range – for those who make more than $70,000 per year

The course will be offered Monday evenings from 7:00 – 9:00 pm EDT beginning August 10th and finishing August 31st, 2020. Each class recording will be posted online within 48 hours and will remain online for those who may wish to take the course on their own. Participants should expect to spend a minimum of one hour per week on homework assignments. 

Note to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC): This course is likely to cover material that has been your lived experience, and you may find it both tedious and difficult as others wrestle with these questions. You are welcome to participate, but should do so with the understanding that it is likely to require patience and even emotional or intellectual labor on your part as you engage with white people who feel called to take responsibility for learning and dismantling a culture of white supremacy and systems of racism. In recognition that you are likely to be “teacher” as much as “learner” in this 101 level class, feel free to register at no cost to you. 

This course or demonstrated mastery of the material it covers will be a pre-requisite for most other Matthew 25 courses.

Expected Competency

At the end of this course, participants who are new to a structural analysis of the impact of racism and systems of white supremacy will have a foundational understanding of the dynamics of racism, the way those dynamics are playing out in 2020, and the labor being done in the Presbyterian Church (USA) to take responsibility for and dismantle systems of white supremacy. White participants will have a basic understanding of the language of the movement, know how to identify and avoid micro-aggression against Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), understand the basics of what it means to be an ally to BIPOC, and be practiced at responding non-defensively to critique of their own behavior and of systems of white privilege and supremacy. 

Course Outline

1. The first week will focus on the idea of whiteness and give a brief historical overview of the history of white supremacy in the United States and the social construction of race. It will include a primer on appropriate language for engaging anti-racism work. (Troubling the Waters: Episode 2, Content Provider – Alison Wood)

2. The second week will provide a basic framework for understanding what it means to be “centered” or “decentered” in the dominant culture. (Content Provider: Jessica Vasquez-Torrez)

3. The third week will cover the work of the recent task forces on racism of the PCUSA, with a focus on the work of the Task Force on Black Women and Girls and the Special Commission on Racism, Truth and Reconciliation that are currently at work. (Content Providers to be determined)

4. The fourth week will focus on concrete next steps that participants can take. Depending on the make-up of course participants, much of this class may be carried out in BIPOC and White affinity groups. (Content Provider: Alison Wood)

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