Announcing Rev. Ernest J. Newborn, Sr. Grant Program

Ernest Joshua Newborn, Sr. Peace-Maker Legacy Grant Program 2020

Reconciliation Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) announces the launch of the Rev. Ernest J. Newborn, Sr. Legacy grant program.  This grant program intends to provide seed funds for small racial reconciliation and anti-racism projects that address structural barriers for people of color to fully thrive in the communities where they live.   Programs awarded by this program are short-term, achievable, and accountable to the communities the award will benefit.  The application form and guidelines can be accessed here.  Applications will be accepted beginning June 15, 2020, and ongoing through 2020.

Reverend Newborn served for 14 years as Administrative Director of Reconciliation Mission with a stellar fund development record and relationship-building impact.  In partnership with Leon Riley and William Fox, Rev. Newborn inaugurated the Bike to Assembly fundraising program that sought to raise awareness and inspire action for poverty and racism across this life of the Church.  He developed programs such as Mother-to-Mother connecting women in poverty with women of economic means as a model of economic empowerment and racial reconciliation.  In honor of the legacy of Rev. Newborn and his family, we launch this program as an enduring catalyst for transformation and racial justice.

#Pentecost #BlackLivesMatter #GeorgeFloyd

Pentecost and Anti-Racism Response Resources


“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them ability.”  Act 2:4 NRSV


In the throes of a pandemic, protests, and pandemonium, we can be thrust into silence and solitude.  I am convinced that solitude is a needed spiritual discipline in times such as these.  The past three weeks have been particularly difficult and distressing for our nation and for our African American siblings.  In addition to the disproportionate death rate from COVID-19 in African American and Latinx communities, two more African American men were killed by white law enforcement officers.  Major cities in our nation, including Minneapolis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago are smoldering from flames of combustible rage and despair resulting from the death of George Floyd.  Mr. Floyd died when a Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes inhibiting his ability to breathe.

See the resource


Protests turned fiery and businesses have been breached through broken entry points and theft – looting has occurred.  Yet, looting cannot be the legacy of this season.  As a Pro-Reconciling and Anti-Racist Church, we must keep a meta-view of this moment.  This is not about bad actors who burn buildings and steal merchandise.  The depth and longevity of individual and collective despair have many expressions.  Four hundred plus years of actual and symbolic knees pressed onto the necks of people of African descent in this nation have festered into blisters that burst and ooze with rage, resolve, and repression of the human spirit.

All of this as we enter into the season of Pentecost.  As the Spirit rushes upon the Church like a mighty wind, we are propelled toward a shift.  This shift requires that we, like the disciples on that Pentecost Day in biblical antiquity, receive the Holy Spirit.  It is requiring that we trust the Spirit to use our different tongues and languages as we employ our skills, gifts, passions, and talents to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.  We will not all protest in a local town square, but I pray some of you will.  We will not all form prayer circles and pray for the Spirit to accompany our culture shift to dismantle racism, but I hope many of you will.  Many, if not all of us, can vote, join a movement in our local community, learn how to be an ally, and educate ourselves in anti-racism.

I have attached, above, a document with a few resources that have emerged over time from Disciples pastors, scholars, and ecumenical partners. It is my hope they will help you to embrace the rushing wind of the Pentecost season in order to affirm the image of God in every human body and spirit.  It is also my prayer that we, “filled with the Holy Spirit, will begin to speak in different languages (by utilizing our differing gifts) as the Spirit gives ability” to be the reconciled body of Christ from this day forward.  While silence and solitude are virtuous disciplines, I pray we are reminded that we are never alone.  I also pray that Disciples emerge at this moment committed to join the movement of the Holy Spirit to change our culture of racism this Pentecost season.


Rev. April Johnson
Minister of Reconciliation

Announcing our 2019 Reconciliation Ministry Special Offering

2019 Reconciliation Ministry Special Offering

Sermon Helps September 29th Luke 16: 19 – 31

Sermon Prompts for September 29th

Video Resource:  2019 Grant Recipient – Constructive Theologies Project
What is Reconciliation?

We would like to invite the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and supporters to help Reconciliation Ministry to continue its mission of Anti-Racism, Pro-Reconciliation work.

About the Special Offering

The Special Offering is used to fund our Church’s mission imperative to become a pro-reconciling and anti-racist church utilizing  experiential education, inclusive worship and intentional dialogue. Our efforts to promote healing, relationship and restoration in the whole family of God are enlivened by funds from this offering. Through it we are able to provide programs for leadership development, curriculum for dialogue and learning, and partnerships within the Church and our communities.

Recent events have reignited the conversation about human brokenness evidenced in the sin of racism and perpetuated in our institutional structures and systems. Your generous giving to Reconciliation Ministry is transforming lives and strengthening Christ’s witness in the world showing that we love one another, even as Christ continues to love us!

Donations on behalf of emergency grants on behalf of impacted communities and congregations toward healing for the communities of Ferguson, Staten Island, Charleston, S.C., and Baltimore can be directed to the Reconciliation Annual Fund/Racial Justice Response.

Why Have a Special Offering?

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has a history dating from the 1960s of sharing our resources to address the racism of our society and the racism within our own church. We have called this process the Reconciliation Ministry.

We receive this offering in the fall and use the funds throughout the year to give grants to the pro-reconciliation/anti-racism initiative to organize to dismantle systems and structures that perpetuate this sin of division within the Church.

The 2020 Vision adopted by our church names this work as one of the four priorities of our mission together as a whole church. This voluntary annual offering is the only source of funding for this ministry.

The form of this ministry may be changing, but the need for addressing racism has never been more obvious. 

As the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) lives into its identity as a “movement for wholeness in a fragmented world” contributions to this offering facilitate camp and conference and leadership development opportunities as well as programs for dialogue across difference that promotes life-giving community within our beloved church and among the whole family of God.

Embodying the Call, English PDF

Embodying the Call, Spanish PDF

Embodying the Call, Korean PDF

Grant Proposals

Image result for grants

Reconciliation Ministry is now accepting new grant proposals for Pro-Reconciliation and Anti-Racism projects for 2019.  Grant proposals from disciples general ministries, Regional ministries, Disciples higher education ministries and recognized ministries of the Church are due by January 31, 2019.

The guidelines for proposals can be accessed by clicking here.
The fillable Proposal application can be accessed by clicking here.
The Preliminary Grant Report to be sent by Sept. 15th can be accessed by clicking here.

A Reintroduction to Reconciliation Ministry

In October of 1967, members of the Christian Church gathered in St. Louis, Missouri at the annual International Convention of Christian Churches where a group of those members brought up the distress urban areas across the country were experiencing regarding w issues of racism and poverty. Participants at the Convention felt strongly that the church should make intentional effort to address these issues happening throughout the church and nation. So, they got to work.

Almost immediately the United Christian Missionary Society through the Urban Emergency Action committee received funds to begin providing grants to social services organizations who were already serving communities in the work the church was looking to support. Organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA received grant money to aid in their efforts dismantling societal oppression.

After a year of success and increasing interest from across the Church, General Minister and President, A. Dale Fiers, convened a steering committee to discuss and strategize how to further address the racial and social oppression that was occurring in American cities. The committee had a goal of raising $1 million over two years for programs in urban centers and rural communities..

What the church thought would be a temporary fund that would eventually lose interest became a movement. Reconciliation: The Urban Emergency Program consistently met its fundraising goals, with congregations within the denomination generously donating money, overwhelmingly supportive of a mission working within the the vain of social justice during the tumultuous civil rights era.

In 1971, the Church now officially organized into the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) formalized its commitment and call to the work of Reconciliation as a permanent ministry within the denomination. The call to Reconciliation: The Urban Emergency Program – the Reconciliation Ministry continues its witness these 47 years later.

Today, the ministry works to break down systems of oppression that effectively marginalizes people through practices of social and economic exclusion. Reconciliation Ministry offers anti-racism and anti-oppression trainings throughout the Church to foster a denomination-wide understanding of the importance of dismantling systemic racism and poverty in their community where they serve and do mission.

“It’s helpful for the church to act as a moral agent of the community to raise the consciousness and to inspire those who are willing to commit to be advocates for those who are as victims of racial and social oppression,” says April Johnson, Executive Director of Reconciliation Ministry. “It’s important for the Church to know that it is a major influencer in society. We are much more than what we do inside the doors of the Church. The value of the church is how we witness when we are outside the doors of the church. We embody the ministry of reconciliation everywhere we go as ambassadors for Christ.”

Reconciliation Ministry still participates in funding community organizing networks and church-wide ministries through it granting program and robust anti-racism educational efforts. During the last week of September and the first week of October, the Reconciliation Ministry Special Offering is received in congregations; individuals and congregations can donate in their congregations, through online giving, or by mailing a check payable to Reconciliation Ministry (P.O. Box 1986, Indianapolis, IN 46206).

Webinar Series leading up to Special Offering

On September 30th and October 7th, congregations all across the United States and Canada will collect the special offering for Reconciliation Ministry. As a way to prepare for the offering, and in partnership with the National Benevolent Association, Refugee & Immigration Ministries, and Disciples Immigration Legal Counsel, Reconciliation Ministry is offering a couple of educational webinars for all Disciples. The webinars are free of cost, but require registration in order to obtain access.

Date: September 20th at 1 pm (EDT)
Topic: Embracing the Call: Putting Out the Welcome Mat
Embracing the call to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly should be more than reciting a bible verse, it should have visible signs and clear witness. In this webinar, we will learn some of the impacts and implications of the criminal justice and immigration system on God’s children, and how the Church can respond to it by breaking down the walls of separation, division, and racism. Presented by: Reconciliation Ministry, Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries, and Disciples Immigration Legal Counsel
Registration link:

Date: September 27th at 1 pm (EDT)
Topic: “Beyond the Labels…The Humanization of God’s Children”
Language is used to dehumanization and control the image and narratives of black and brown people and provide a vehicle for their criminalization and imprisonment in this country. In this webinar, we want to address the reality that how we think/talk about certain people in this country is counter to what it means to be created in the image of God, and people of faith have a role in dismantling these images that fuel and support an unjust criminal system. This webinar is presented in partnership with Reconciliation Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Registration link:

Advent Liturgical Resources for Reconciliation by Rev. Beth Rupe

As we follow the church calendar, we order our time according to the life events of Jesus Christ. This calendar includes two great festival seasons, Christmas and Easter. Each year begins with Advent, the time of preparation when we look to the coming of Emmanuel, God with us. In doing so, we stand on a continuum of past, present, and future as we are reminded that we live in the gap between what God has accomplished, is accomplishing, and will accomplish. This four weeks leading up to the twelve days of Christmas provides us a space to consider the reality of our world in light of the meaning of what it meant, what it means, and what it will mean for Emmanuel to come into our lives and into the world. When we pause to reflect on this, we must acknowledge what is incongruent between our current reality and life as revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The sin of racism is one of the incongruencies.

The good news is Advent does not leave us in a place of despair and hopelessness. It is the time of preparation and of looking forward with hope. During Advent we are not only preparing for the birth of a baby, albeit a special baby. We are preparing for the celebration of Emmanuel. Advent is the time to prepare, to celebrate, to hope that God is with us – today, tomorrow and forevermore. It is the time to anticipate with hope and joy the coming of Jesus Christ who reconciles humanity and all of creation with the God. This reconciliation includes the dismantling and end of the sin of racism.

For the weekly Advent Liturgy, click link below:
 Advent Wreath Lighting Liturgy 2017