Rocky backstory to 2023 ‘International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’

Last year, Rev. Dr. Kelly Sherman-Conroy and two colleagues traveled to the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss the liturgy, weekly reflextions, and Bible Study they had been asked to create for the 2023 International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. “They wanted the perspective of Black and Indigenous people,” said Sherman-Conroy, who is Lakota.

What should have been positive experience was traumatic, as Sherman-Conroy’s Christianity was called into question.

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Religion of Whiteness, Part III

Stories and reflections from Christians of Color

(See also Part I: The Religion of Whiteness: What survey data says about White Christians’ attitudes about race and privilege, and Part II: Religion of Whiteness: What is it?)

Rev. Dr. Kelly Sherman-Conroy, a member of the Oglala Sioux Nation, ordained ELCA pastor, and a Native theologian, speaks at various churches and events about Lakota traditions and values, and the important role culture plays within the Christian church experience.

It can be emotionally draining for her.

She recalled that after speaking at a congregation last spring, a man approached her and said: “So let me get this right. What I hear from you is that you believe Indigenous people are the superior race. …”

Sherman-Conroy had her nine-year-old son with her. She tried to figure out how to respond, as the man continued to pontificate.

She didn’t finish that story. She did say when she goes somewhere to speak or preach now, she asks the congregation to have someone with her “so they can hear the crap that I go through.”

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