Come to dinner Tuesday, November 7 at Highland Park United Methodist Church and be a part of an innovative program, “Together We Dine.”
“Together We Dine,” a program of Project Unity, provides the opportunity to sit with total strangers of various races and cultures while sharing food and conversation.
Conversation will not be typical dinner conversation about Sunday’s game or the latest box office hit, but rather will focus on subjects often “hushed and banned” for fear of offending. Conversation will be geared toward courageous and safe conversation about race and other issues often not talked about but need to be discussed.
In short, you will be encouraged by facilitators from the Dallas Bar Association, St. Paul United Methodist Church and Highland Park United Methodist Church to discuss racial issues that are always on your mind but that you are often afraid to voice.
Dallas city leaders and officials say they have been working diligently to improve relationships between local residents and police officers since the July 2016 Dallas police shooting. Senior Pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church and founder of Project Unity, Rev. Richie Butler, is committed to bringing together people of all backgrounds and differences.
I asked Rev. Butler what he considered the primary obstacles to cross cultural and cross racial understanding.
“There is a variety of obstacles, but a primary consideration is the fear of engaging in conversation.” he said. “This is a tough subject. It is uncomfortable— so people tend to avoid it.”
As a facilitator of the dinner conversations, how do you help people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds learn to “hear” each other, I asked Rev. Butler.
“We spend a lot of time listening. Listening requires us to be silent. This is not a debate,” he answered. “Too often the objective is to win. If someone wins, then someone has to lose. Unity is the only answer as a ‘house divided can not stand,’” he continued.
“Issues surrounding race have been around for many years, and they won’t be resolved in one evening. The purpose of the dinner conversations is to create on-going forums to foster relationships. People of all races and ethnic backgrounds have fears that need to be better understood, so they can be addressed as a community,” he said.
If you would like to participate in “Together we Dine” you may register on-line to attend the free event. Media is invited and encouraged to attend.
Learn more at https://www.yearofunity.com.
Highland Park United Methodist Church is located at 3300 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, TX 75205. All are welcome!