All Church Read – Waking up White by Debbie Irving

All Church Read - Waking up White by Debbie Irving

Our Presbytery, Lake Michigan Presbytery, has suggested a book , as a suggested reading to have congregations better understand racism and white privilege and how this affects communities.

The First Pres initiative on Conversations on Race is taking this opportunity to develop a project that can involve all members of the congregation.  As a Conversations on Race program, we are initiating an all-church book reading! The book would of course be Waking up White by Debbie Irving. The author describes the book this way:

Waking Up White is the book I wish someone had handed me decades ago. My hope is that by sharing my sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, I offer a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As I unpack my own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, I reveal how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated my ill-conceived ideas about race. I also explain why and how I’ve changed the way I talk about racism, work in racially mixed groups, and understand the racial justice movement as a whole. Exercises at the end of each chapter prompt readers to explore their own racialized ideas. Waking Up White’s personal narrative is designed to work well as a rapid read, a book group book, or support reading for courses exploring racial and cultural issues.

This book is a must-read by everyone that wants to make our communities better places to live, love, and follow the moral obligations we are all meant to embrace! The entire membership is invited to read the book and have book discussions over several venue opportunities. Reading of the book would begin immediately and the book discussions would begin at the end of the summer.

This all-church read would be modeled after local all-community reads such as done by MSU, Lansing Community College and the East Lansing community. The book can be purchased locally, online, and as an eBook. Additionally, the church library will have several copies that can be borrowed throughout the summer!

The discussion of the book would be done through several venues:

  • Have Session read the book as a focus topic
  • Have it read through the church Book Club
  • Have it as an Adult Forum
  • Have it discussed in all the Links groups
  • A final all-church function that would have an evening discussion after all other venues of discussions have finished. Do a simple meal and have the discussion led by Pastor Stan and a co-leader.

Stay tuned for continuing information on this project! Remember you can start reading immediately! Also, for additional information please contact Willye Bryan,, Pastor Stan, or Carol Wallace.



Recommended Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.