On Wednesday evening, July 29, the North Shore Gospel Partnership, a collaboration of churches in Essex County, hosted a virtual live event titled Let’s Talk: Hard Stories and Honest Questions. Paulea Mooney-McCoy introduced the conversation as an opportunity to pull up a chair to her family’s table as she, her husband, and their three adult children shared their personal experiences as black men and women in the Boston area.
Paulea acknowledged that statistically speaking, most people in the majority culture lack a diverse friendship group where they can walk alongside people with different experiences than their own. The conversation presented an opportunity for Church unity, as those who shared and those who listened practiced the art of belonging to each other. Their conversation graciously allowed listeners to share in the family’s pride, affection, challenges, humiliations, sorrows, passion, and vision.
Watch the entire conversation
You can further get to know Bill, Paulea, Caleb, Ethan, and Nyasha by reading their bios here, which links to Caleb’s website and Bill’s recently published opinion piece.
After listening to the Mooney-McCoy family, moderators identified a few takeaways for deeper consideration.
Go and do likewise. Make space around your table for other people’s stories.
As stories coalesced, Caleb encouraged listeners to recognize where they can invest with time and resources in the stories and the lives of others. Similarly, Nyasha reflected on a line from a song Caleb wrote and how it reminds her not to judge from afar, but rather to walk alongside as each of us leans into our responsibility to address our blindspots individually and as churches.
Navigate daily interactions aware of making others seen.
Individual family members related a range of experiences with racial profiling and aggression and the burden of navigating those experiences on a daily basis. Nyasha contrasted stories of people either ignoring or taking the time to learn her name and connected those experiences with her own approach to making children feel seen in her classroom. Moderators noted that our actions have the power to make people feel seen either with suspicion or with compassion, and encouraged listeners to follow Jesus’ way of making people seen, as the Mooney-McCoy family modeled.
Summary by Sarah Bartley