A practice of valuing the musical contributions of persons of color (POC) to worship music repertoire through regular community-supported payments.
This pilot program is seeking to offer help to faith communities who would like to find a way to pay reparations by way of their music ministry or larger church body’s congregational song. Since each faith community is different, this program is not prescriptive (we aren’t saying, “this is exactly what you need to do”). Rather, we seek to offer a guide which will help congregations in creating a unique program for their own ministry setting and/or context. We also hope that this program will connect us to partners across the U.S. and Canada who will give us feedback on whether this program should continue forward, and if so, how it can be improved.
That this project provides majority white congregations’ music ministries an opportunity to “put their money where their mouth is” concerning racial justice in the U.S.
That this project provides a catalyst for beginning and/or deepening relationships between majority white congregations and POC as they work towards God’s kindom on earth.
That this project helps majority (demographically and/or culturally) white congregations understand how much they already rely on and/or are blessed by the musics of other people’s & cultures in worship.
That this project helps majority (demographically and/or culturally) white congregations understand how and why our musical cultures are interrelated and interdependent, including a deepening understanding and recognition of the ongoing impact of colonization.
That this project inspires and supports both spiritual and structural transformation for all involved.
That this project plays a significant part in de-centering whiteness and re-centering God’s vision for a beloved community.
That this project financially and spiritually blesses current day POC artists and organizations.
The use of the word “reparations” is most often used in the United States to describe the process of making amends for the historical and systematic wrong done to African Americans. However, we also acknowledge that there are communities across the United States and Canada for whom the word reparations might also be warranted, such as various Indigenous Peoples. Therefore, we use “People of Color” or “POC” in the description of this broader initiative with the understanding that when a community implements their specific program they might choose to be more specific (Black, Indigenous, Latino, etc…) with the community that they are seeking to build relationship.
The inspiration for this program began as Adam Waite talked with his mentor from the NEXT CHURCH organization about how his church’s music ministry could engage in Antiracism practices for Faithful Leadership in its community and beyond. We’re grateful to Adam for his willingness to dream with his mentor and then collaborate with us. Adam is the Minister of Music at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Denver, CO.
The Rev. Dr. Lisa Weaver is Assistant Professor of Worship at Columbia Theological Seminary and a Member-At-Large on the Executive Committee of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. We are grateful for her review and input into the creation of this pilot program.