Amid the challenging limits of the COVID-19 quarantine, who could have imagined that Scarritt Bennett Center would expand the depth and breadth of its ministry? We did.
Last spring, we found ourselves hurrying to postpone and cancel conferences and retreats on campus. Then, within weeks, high-profile cases of violence against America’s Black population were compelling us to act. Our mission is to advance the work of racial justice, women’s empowerment, spiritual formation, and the education of laity. We knew this crisis demanded us to make an impact even during a pandemic.
Through the power of digital communication, our program teams quickly pivoted to online forums, workshops, and small-group gatherings. By going virtual, we have expanded our reach to a global following!
Our Racial Justice Ministry’s online education and training has drawn participants from 10 states and several other countries since beginning in April. As these resources have gathered momentum, we have been able to amplify key voices and forge new partnerships. Among the success stories: Our online conversations about the impact of COVID-19 on the African American community with Dr. James Hildreth, president of Nashville’s Meharry Medical College, attracted more than 8,500 people — a level of participation previously unimaginable.
Also through online platforms, participation in weekly Jazz Vespers, Chapel worship, and monthly poetry readings has tripled and continues to grow. We have launched two virtual support communities. A hundred women now participate in Salama Circles, which work to heal the trauma experienced by Black women. About 20 people are part of our Power of Eight initiative designed to uplift and heal with intentional prayer.
With your help we can continue to “go tell it on the mountain,” using technology to widen our reach and take people into spaces of learning, healing, and growth. Please consider a gift to our mission and ministry — and visit us at our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/ScarrittBennett. Join us, as well, in the hope and the prayer that someday soon we can all gather again to continue our work in person.
May we all share the good news that Jesus Christ is born!
Sarah Wilke, Executive Director
MLK Day “Women of Faith” Social Justice Panel (January 2020)
“Living in the Pandemic: How COVID-19 Affects the Black and Brown Communities” livestream (April 2020)
“White Co-Conspirators: The Conversation White People Need to Have with White People” (July 2020)