General Association Looks At Race, Identity, Family

9/28/2016
By Tiffany Vail

By Tiffany Vail

Just under 80 clergy and Conference staff attended the 307th General Association Sept. 25 and 26, gathering for networking and some deep discussion on race, identity and the American family. General Association is the longest running annual gathering of clergy in the country, and was held this year at the Heritage Hotel and Conference Center in Southbury.

The two-day event began on Sunday evening, with a dinner and remarks by Conference Minister the Rev. Kent Siladi.  (Read about his remarks in the separate article: Siladi talks to clergy about their ministry challenges.

Monday featured Carlton Mackey, Director of the Ethics & the Arts Program at the Emory Center for Ethics.  Mackey led four session with clergy throughout the day that began with a discussion of the ethics around identity, then looked at the myth of what a "typical" American family is and then talked about how people see race differently, event when it comes to the particular shade of one's skin color. He ended the day by talking about how people can turn their thoughts into action surrounding issues like these.

Mackey walked through the progression of engagement with an issue: from awareness, to advocacy, to being an ally, to taking action. Finally, he said, there is revolution.

"Revolution is when we stop proclaiming the system is broken, because it's not. It's working very well," he said. "A revolution is when we break the system. How are we going to do that? When are we going to do that? Are we willing to pay the cost?"

See photos from the event below:

General Association 2016