An Illinois church has pledged to avoid musical scores and liturgical contributions in its worship services that are "written or composed by white people" and committed to "fasting from whiteness" for Lent.
The First United Church of Oak Park in Oak Park, Ill. announced, "For Lent this year, First United is doing a mix of 'giving something up' and 'taking something on.' In our worship services throughout Lent, we will not be using any music or liturgy written or composed by white people. Our music will be drawn from the African American spirituals tradition, from South African freedom songs, from Native American traditions, and many, many more."
"For Lent, it is our prayer that in our spiritual disciplines we may grow as Christians, united in the body of Christ with people of all ages, nations, races, and origins."
"This Lent we build our worship life around the voices of Black people, indigenous people, and people of color."
The announcement also featured an accompanying sign on its front lawn, according to Turning Point USA. TPUSA said the church was creating "disunity" and moving "back to segregation times."
Churchgoers were also encouraged to view whiteness-free worship services on the Church’s YouTube channel.
In a March 29 announcement entitled "Kindness and Privilege", the church stated, "We honor our fast from whiteness this Lent by prioritizing the voice of Bruce Reyes-Chow through a chapter of his book, In Defense of Kindness," TPUSA reported.
Reyes-Chow stated that those who oppose violent protests are speaking from a place of privilege, and should refrain from trying to stop them because doing so is an exercise of "'civilizing' those who do not fit into our understanding of normative behavior."
"For many of us, being uncomfortable about public protests or what we perceive as aggressive expressions of frustration simply identifies our privilege and our ability to shield ourselves from the struggles that others are facing. May our call to civil discourse be more about listening to the genuine struggles of our human sisters, brothers, siblings, neighbors, and strangers than about protecting our own spaces of security. Most people do not engage in public protest or in expressing anger that may put risk on their life, work, or status. So when groups of people are pushed to their boiling point, the least helpful thing to do is to silence them."