Listening and Learning

DPC has long pushed toward becoming a truly socially conscious congregation. But we understand there is so much more work to be done, more to learn, and more to understand. That process is ever-evolving and will always continue.

We try to look within ourselves while spreading the message of social justice outwardly. We’ve made efforts to dig deeper – to not only reject racism, but to become actively anti-racist as a society. In the coming months, the congregation as a whole will come together as we build upon the Matthew 25 Initiative – for which our stated focus is dismantling racism and its intersectionality with poverty.

While these learning opportunities have been offered for years, recent events following the horrific death of George Floyd in Minnesota ignited the passion within many within the DPC family who hope to see real change occur.

As civil unrest and protests spread across the country last summer, Pastor John Willingham added his voice, calling for each of us to contribute to peace and racial justice. He hosted a series of outdoor discussions with congregation members at his home and on the church campus to allow free and open conversation about these important issues. While attendance was kept to a limit due to social distancing policies at the time, each gathering reached capacity.

Pastor John reflected on those discussions in a letter to the congregation in November, saying:

“National events of recent months have made it clear that injustice growing out of racism continues to plague our land and its citizens. In the six gatherings I held over the summer after the death of George Floyd, in my Growth Group underway now, and countless informal conversations in-between, members of DPC have repeatedly asked ‘How can we be part of the change?’ While there are no easy answers for a problem that is visible and insidious, widespread and personal, it is the kind of challenge to which we are called if there is to be a different future.”

Video inviting members to the group book discussion on “White Fragility” offered in June, 2020.

In the following months, DPC Youth participated in and helped lead Zoom discussions based on the books How to Be an Anti-Racist and White Fragility which have continued on, reshaped as a Growth Group that continues to meet.

DPC’s Peace and Justice Committee organized a Week of Action – a localized effort in line with the nationwide Week of Action sponsored by PC(USA). Congregants were provided with reading material, video links, and opportunities to pray and learn together in the name of social justice. Members shared experiences as they learned, with visits to different websites and the African American History Museum of Bucks County in Langhorne.

Logo for DPC’s Week of Action held in the summer of 2020.

Our congregation’s Winter 2021 Growth Group offerings include two discussion groups which we hope will promote a greater understanding of these important issues.

Throughout the month, we will be offering African-American Spirituals as part of worship service and our video devotional series Bridges and Beacons. In the February 1 edition, Director of Music and the Arts Mark Helms reflects on and sings “Deep River,” a stirring hymn accentuating struggle and the yearning to be free.

DPC Organist Mina Choi continues our celebration in the February 3 devotional as she turns to “Go Down Moses” to illustrate how African-American Spirituals often used Biblical stories to parallel the hopes and sorrows of their people.

Celebrating Black Artists: An Hour to Listen

On Sunday, Feb. 28 at 4 pm, the Peace and Justice Committee’s Esther Brigade presented a casual Zoom gathering featuring 14 different artists, including musicians, painters, animators, writers, and poets. As our church launches the Matthew 25 initiative with our stated focus of dismantling racism and its intersectionality with poverty, let’s take a moment to find joy, hope, and inspiration together.

For those who were not able to join us live, a digital version of the event featuring written words and videos is available HERE.