Said Jermaine Boyer: “I have participated in more than 10 Together We Dine events, and there is always something different about each one.”
On August 4, members of First UMC Dallas and St. Paul UMC gathered for a Together We Dine event, engaging in facilitated dialogue around race relations and learning from one another. A few participants shared their experiences:
I have participated in more than 10 Together We Dine events, and there is always something different about each one. For me, it always starts with being early and chatting it up before the event starts. This event with FUMC Dallas was awesome just like the rest.
The questions are the same from one event to the next, but it’s cool to hear different perspectives. I was the youngest at my table, and I got to hear real experiences from white people who lived through the era of segregation. Hearing about their mindset during that time and now is interesting.
There was a question about our thoughts on white privilege, and everyone gave their input. It was awesome hearing the perspectives and ultimately, we all agreed that white privilege does exist. One person acknowledged that she was a benefactor of white privilege, although she did not realize it.
We found ourselves discussing the topic of biases and how we all are guilty of our biases. We determined that we should strive to be mindful of our thoughts.
Our last question was whether we are hopeful about the future and why. There was a comment made that rubbed me the wrong way; however, I knew the commenter didn’t understand what she had said, and I related it back to having biases and not realizing it. She had become comfortable with the group and let her walls down. I mention this incident only to say that this event allows the participants to get comfortable in an uncomfortable setting. The discomfort, along with the discussion of well thought out questions, always makes for an amazing event.
The Together We Dine experience is one that allowed me to listen and understand how others view race relations as well as share my viewpoints. The time spent with my circle of new friends proved to be inspiring, eye-opening and thought-provoking. The experience gave me the opportunity to look at race relations from multiple perspectives and hear from individuals of different racial backgrounds. Hearing about the experiences – past and present – of our tablemates helped to shed light on how our viewpoint on race is formed. I also learned that our beliefs are shaped throughout our lives and taken many twists and turns.
During the discussion, I came to learn that we often need to give ourselves constant reminders that we must be intentional on how we view others of different races and make sure that our thoughts and judgments are honest, fair and respectful.
Sharon and Richard Rodine
We had heard such good things about Together We Dine, so we were eager to participate when St. Paul UMC and FUMC Dallas announced they were co-hosting an event. It did not disappoint! The program format and facilitation were excellent. We started by sharing a meal, then our facilitator led us in a guided discussion that allowed everyone to listen, share and learn. We enjoyed the informative, open conversation, along with the fun and laughter. We encourage UMC members across the North Texas Conference to participate in Together We Dine and promote the important work of Project Unity. Together, as United Methodists, we can do a lot of great things in our North Texas communities.
To coordinate a Together We Dine event for your congregation, email Andy Lewis.