Notes from our monthly meetings.

September 20, 2018 @ Paoli Methodist


August 20, 2018 @ Paoli Presbyterian

  • Tom Infield hosted the meeting with Pastor Robert Scott, Pastor Tom Jackmon, Chuck Marshall, and John Quillen attending
  • Tom shared a devotional based on Jesus in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). 3 times the disciples let Jesus down by falling asleep. For those of us who often feel we fall short, it’s oddly reassuring that Jesus built His church on followers that could disappoint him.
  • We talked about sharing info about the upcoming performances of The Stain play (website) at Blue Route Vineyard.
  • We discussed 5th Sunday Attend a Different Church, but decided the pulpit exchange would be simpler.
  • For Pulpit Exchange:
    • Pastors would agree to a date to ‘switch pulpits’.
    • Pastors would invite congregants to join them at the church they’ll be preaching at.
    • Some parishioners would follow resulting in a good mix and exposure.
  • Tom floated the idea of a Serve Day across all churches on a Saturday in early May 2019:
    • Each church would arrange for one or more service opportunities.
    • A list of all opportunities would be provided.
    • A mix of opportunities for varies skill levels and capabilities is important.
    • Anyone could attend any opportunity.
    • The Pulpit Exchanges would help to form relationships between churches to increase comfort of serving with a different church.
    • We discussed a joint worship to send off (Friday?) or celebrate (Saturday?) the Serve Day.

July 16, 2018 @ Mainline Christian Assembly

  • 14 people attended; at least 4 were attending for the first time.
  • Pastor Robert Scott hosted
  • Dave Swavely provided an excellent devotion based on Acts 17:16-31 – Paul speaking to the Greeks on Mars Hill in Athens and Titus 1:10-14 – Paul’s letter to Titus in Greece
  • We’ve had over 30 different people attend various meetings since January. We have found that we spend a bit of time each sharing experiences and developing a common understanding. It’s a great experience.
  • We continue to move towards taking action and have talked about several options.
  •  The Stain Play will be performed 3 times the weekend of August 25, 26 at Blue Route Vineyard!
    • This will be our first action relating to the group and we’re hopeful that it will create moment
    • Details:
      • Each service is 90 minutes long, with the sermon being about 35 minutes long.
      • Saturday, August 25, 5-6:30pm
      • Sunday, August 26, 9-10:30 am or 11-12:30pm
      • “Sharing Our Stories” potluck, 1-3pm
  • Pulpit exchange was brought up again; we’ve talked about it before and continue to think it would be a good thing.
  • 5th Sunday Attend a Different Church is a new idea that was suggested
    • There was definite interest.
    • September 30th is a 5th Sunday. Perhaps we could have a list of churches and share it at Blue Route Vineyard as handout for those that see The Stain?
  •  There was a suggestion to find a church that has already successfully done multi-cultural ministry
    • Enon Tabernacle was one suggestion. Sr Pastor Alyn Waller
    • Crossroads Community in Upper Darby was another suggestion (John Q’s brother is pastor there; they’ve been multicultural since the 80s and have 22 nations represented)
  • We also talked about a multi-cultural musical event that could also have a Stain Play performance
    • Perhaps multiple bands at at Hopewell UMC’s outdoor amphitheater in late September

June 18, 2018 @ Blueroute Vineyard

  • Kathy Maskell, Isiah, Pastor Tom, Tom Infield, and John Quillen attended
    • Despite a number of folks having conflicts, our time was blessed.
  • Isiah told us about Be the Bridge to Racial Unity
    • Perhaps we could form a group to study the material?
  • We talked about the need to meet people where they are and bring them to where they need to be.
  • We watched The Stain play. Feedback was again positive.
    • How would this resonate with our church members?
    • A diverse group would improve the quality of the facilitated discussion that follows the play.
    • Blueroute Vineyard is going to consider hosting the play, perhaps during their Saturday evening service.

No meeting in May

April 16, 2018 @ Central Baptist

  • Chuck Marshall hosted us on April 16 at Central Baptist with Pastor Martin, LaRaine, Tom, Pastor Scott, Pastor Tom, Pastor Susan Worrell, and John Quillen
  • Hope to see you at the Paoli Car Show (at Paoli Methodist) this Saturday June 9th from 11-3:00pm website –
  • There are still a few tickets left for Sight & Sound’s JESUS on June 20th. Contact Pastor Tom Jackmon
  • We will be scheduling 2 performances of The Stain (a racial awareness play + facilitated follow-up discussion)
  • We have booked Delaware County Christian School’s 600+ seat auditorium for May 5 & 6, 2019 for next year’s main event
  • Tom Infield is looking into speakers for the May 5 & 6 event; others may also
Here are some details about The Stain:
The week after our last meeting a friend reached out to me that I hadn’t spoken with in about 5 years. Over lunch, I learned that she had gotten involved in racial reconciliation and worked with a writer/director to create a play called The Stain. The motivation for and goal of the play was to expose issues of racism and spark conversations that could be facilitated. I showed a video of the play at our April meeting. It got a favorable reaction. My daughter, Emily, and I got to see the play enacted at Aldersgate Methodist in Wilmington in the context of a Covenant Formation Group meeting.

March 26, 2018 @ Mt Zion AME

We had a great meeting at Mt Zion in Devon hosted by Pastor April Martin.
9 of us were in attendance; Pastor Martin, Christine Markle, Chuck Marshall, Dave Swavely, LaRaine Speller-Calhoun, Pastor Robert Scott, Tom Infield, Pastor Tom Jackmon, and John Quillen.
Our discussion settled on the idea that we really need to generate more awareness and interest through education and conversation. From there, we can enlist more to contribute to addressing larger issues. Creating more awareness through education will give us critical mass. From there, it’s important we focus our efforts. We should consider identifying an existing organization that our churches can contribute to, rather than starting something from scratch.
Meeting highlights:
  • Pastor Martin is going to look into Train the Trainer education to enable us to lead discussions in our churches and facilitate discussions
    • Some of you are already doing this; so there is an opportunity to learn and share
    • Pastor Martin may reach out to Power Metro (which looks similar to what we’ve started and I see Central Baptist is already involved!) and/or the Anti-Defamation League
  • We are going to plan a showing of a movie like Hidden Figures or perhaps an award winning short film around which we could have a meal and a facilitated discussion
    • John Q is going to use this as an opportunity to investigate venues for the larger event in the spring of 2019
  • There is an opportunity for a joint event – Pastor Tom has organized a trip to Sight & Sound – JESUS on June 20th (see Paoli’s website)
  • Pastor Martin suggested that a list / network of folks who could be helpful is something we could establish
    • (e.g. if her son was pulled over and arrested is there an attorney she could count on for help. Is there an opportunity for a modern-day Green Book?)
I’ve updated the Racial Reconciliation page, added a resource page, and started a vocabulary page. I’ve been having performance problems with the website; please let me know how it is for you.
I attended the Act to end Racism Rally in DC last week to mark the 50th anniversary of Reverend King’s assassination. The speeches and music were great. I’m very glad I went. On the bus back there was a discussion about how much progress had been made in the last 50 years. It dawned on me that, as a white person, I thought we’d made a lot of progress and that we’ve back-tracked in the last year and half. Asking a few folks of color on the bus, I understand that the events of the last year and half have only served to shine a light on what is still with us.
Please let me know if the 3rd Monday generally won’t work for you. I know one person already can’t.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are out, so perhaps for May we can try another day of the week or a different Monday.
Hope to see you next Monday at 7:00pm at:

Central Baptist in Wayne –
106 W Lancaster Ave
Wayne, PA 19087


February 6, 2018 @ Paoli Presbyterian

Thank you one and all for meeting at Paoli Pres tonight!

18 attendees

Pastor Tom Jackmon set the stage with Colossians 3. There is unity in diversity.

Pastor Robert Scott preached on human being, not human been.

As Christians, we died to Christ and are a new creation. We need to leave the baggage behind instead of dragging it along with us.

God graced us with 18 people who were all there for a reason. Wanda suggested we share those reasons. Awesome.

Apologies for not wrapping things up neatly at the end and for muddling ‘the ask’.

There are two tasks at hand:

  1. What will this group be and do?
    1. Determine our goals and actions.
  2. Can this group bring additional diversity to the planning of the next major event in Spring 2019?
    1. We want to make sure there is even more diversity in thought for the planning.

Soon I will send out an invite to indicate available dates and an online survey.

Can I get a volunteer or two to work with me to author the survey and plan the next meeting?

The goal of the survey will be to guide the next meeting. I’ll narrow down to a few specific ‘prompts’ as Ray recommended. I would like to break into 3-4 groups of 6-8 people to focus on specific areas based on outcomes of the survey.

Once I have the survey results, I’ll send out an agenda.

It seems clear that there is something to this group – being drawn / compelled together. But, it may be for no other purpose than to know each other and unite in doing together that which we were already doing apart.

Let’s see what the survey says and where our next meeting takes us!

To know each of you, I am blessed, grateful, excited, and humbled.

Check out our site that’s not quite ready for prime time, but close.

(so bummed we didn’t take any pictures tonight!)


I wanted to forward along the  two panel discussions that we did at The Philadelphia Project.  For us these evenings served as education and awareness.  We worked on equipping people to understand the issues, and to gain a basic linguistic set around Race, Racism and Racial Reconciliation.
Both of the panel discussions met with great responses.
 — Pastor Ray


I’d like to welcome Pastor April Martin to the group, pastor of Mt. Zion AME Church in Devon. She and LaRaine will be hosting our next meeting! (availability email goes out tomorrow)

I got just into the Q/A for the first video (of the 2 above from Pastor Ray). I had a bunch of Mm hmMM moments. Great stuff…  Here are some nuggets I came away with…
  • What is Racial Reconciliation? Where do you look in scripture?
    • A modern, American way of expressing what we see Jesus doing in the parable of the good samaritan and the samaritan at the well.
    • good samaritan at the well. The reconciliation part is being comfortable with being uncomfortable
    • 2 Corinthians 5:17
      • We are in the ministry of .. reconciliation. That is our ministry. It’s not something we do when we want to. It should be happening on a daily basis. To God and to one another. Who is my neighbor? Whether we agree with them or not.
    • Reconciliation IS the Gospel
  • What is racism?
    • racism is sin
    • people aren’t born racists
    • if we don’t accept that we are all image bearers, where do we go?
      • How does racism creep into the church?
      • Jesus left the comfort of his home to go after the people completely unlike us
    • In my neighborhood, I hear atonishing, basic assumptions about black people
    • Need to go backward to go forward
  • How do we celebrate racial diversity without whitewashing identity?
    • God isn’t looking for the ‘melting pot’ – He created us in his image
      • Anglos have had to leave your heritage and come under an umbrella called white to benefit from the system
    • Equity is the blind spot in the church 
      • Diversity – most value being together
      • Inclusion – being together
      • Equity – participating in decisions
      • It’s like a Dance:
        • being invited to the dance is diversity
        • being asked to dance is inclusion
        • getting to pick the music and the venue; that’s equity
      • If you don’t get to equity, you backtrack
    • We can’t allow the Gospel to take a back seat to reconciliation
      • The Gospel will lead us to reconciliation
    • John 4 – intentional pursuit through Samaria by Jesus
      • he never hid his ethnicity
    • If we chase reconciliation, we’ve missed the point. We need to chase the person – You don’t look like me, but I’m interested in you. Tell me about you
      • Otherwise, we’re not authentic
    • H&M shirt
      • Don’t say you’re too sensitive – Ask yourself – Are you willing to weep with those who weep?
        • Take the opportunity to learn. To understand the impact
    • Charlottesville
      • My daughter is at the UofDelaware and she’s hurting and doesn’t want to be around church people because white church folk don’t understand
    • Ok, but I’m not racist…
      • In my Montgomery County school, there are no blacks in the advance programs
      • You’re welcome to your opinion
      • I challenge you to find another tool besides to the Gospel to address racism
      • Between my son and the world – black as a body
        • Ta-Nehisi Coates
        • consistent mistreatment of the black man
        • Colbert asked if he had any hope [I remember this interview!]
          • His response – Don’t ask me, you have to go to your pastor for hope
          • Ta-Nehisi is not affiliated with a church, but still knew where to go for hope in this!

January 3rd, 2018 @ Paoli UMC

Thanks again to John Quillen and Pastor Tom Jackman for hosting this group on Wednesday night at Paoli UMC.  It was good to be together to start this effort.

Here is a brief recap of our conversation:

We will extend personal invitations to people we know who may be interested in attending a conversational meeting next month.  The date for this meeting will be either Tuesday, February 6th or Thursday, February 8th at 7:00pm.  The date will be determined based upon the availability of those who are interested in attending.  Becca will confirm a meeting room for us at Paoli Presbyterian Church.

We decided to postpone work on mission and vision statements, until we have a better representation of people in the conversation.

To date, our goal seems to be to better exhibit and embody the kingdom of God and God’s beloved community in ourselves, in our congregations, and in the wider church.  We want to express the church’s call to unity and oneness in Christ.  We are foundationally Christ centered, but open to interfaith efforts in the future.

I’ve added Chris Clark and Sue Spotts to this email distribution (both interested staff members from Westminster).  As you identify other people who are interested in joining this conversation, please let me know.  We will add them into the email exchanges.

Follow-on email

Please try to watch these TED talks before we meet.
At a minimum, watch these 3:
As Pastor Tom made clear, we have a lot to learn. And, I think it was the first video that said “You have to get uncomfortable before you get comfortable”. I learned that talking to those that are homeless. We need to have more conversations. We need to take risks, perhaps misspeak with humility and learn together.
Further, I’m starting to feel that this isn’t about getting some folks to work together – that’s a start – there are some very real, very systemic problems that are happening right here that we need to help address.
 — John

Follow-on email

Thanks for passing those videos along John. I’d also recommend checking out Equal Justice Initiative’s website ( as well as a documentary called 13th which is on Netflix. A good and very informative film on the history of slavery and mass incarceration in our country.
 — Chris