Racial Justice and Healing

Awakenings: Conversations on Race and Church with Robert Sawyer and Richard Sides

The Rev. Dr. Robert E. Sawyer, Moravian pastor and retired past president of the Southern Province Provincial Elders’ Conference and The Rev. Richard L. Sides, Moravian pastor, former director of the Souther Province Board of Christian Education and retired pastor of Home Moravian Church, discuss their experiences of racism in society and the church.  Produced by the Moravian Team for Racial, Cultural and Ethnic Reconciliation. 


  • The topic of racism brings up a lot of emotions. Some of us get defensive, have feelings of guilt, sadness, or shame, while others get angry, judgmental, or self-righteous. Do you recognize any of these as you watch the video? Share this with your group.
  • Reflecting on your own experiences, how did you become aware of racism growing up?
  • Dr. Sawyer says that so much of our thinking is race-based, that we are all caught in a web of racism. How can you relate to this? Do you find yourself having automatic thoughts about certain groups of people? Do you think normal and good is white? Do you excuse bad behavior in white people and think it is normal in other groups?
  • Reverend Sides discusses a student who asked him if he would live in his neighborhood. The segregation in our community and churches is still evident today. How segregated is your neighborhood in terms of race, ethnicity, or social class? How willing would you be to move into a more diverse neighborhood?


  • The statement on racism says that racism divides us. How might you see this in your own church, your own personal network of family and friends, your co-workers, our schools, our government, etc.?
  • White folks often look to people of color to help heal their guilt around issues of racism. How might we begin to heal within our own groups?
  • How often do you hear racism being discussed in white congregations? How different would it be if we had a more racially diverse congregation? Would we address the issue more?