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It can be overwhelming for white people to acknowledge the tremendous harms their ancestors and this nation inflicted on Native American and African American communities, harms that we continue to inflict. It’s overwhelming to think about how to repair centuries of brutality, trauma and genocide.
White Christian churches have additional layers of responsibility and atonement. Some churches used the Bible to justify slavery or profited from owning slaves or slave labor. Many denominations ran Indian boarding schools, where children were forcibly Christianized and often abused. Some died without seeing their families again.
That’s a lot to take in. The Columbus Mennonite Church in Columbus, Ohio, is taking one small, concrete, and practical step towards reparations. As a church, it doesn’t pay property taxes. It estimated what that property tax amount would be, and will donate it each year to Black- and Indigenous-lead organizations. No strings attached.
As the church members wrestled with how to disperse this small reparations fund, it sparked conversations that have been transforming the church and its worship experience.