Our Commitment to

Racial and Social Justice

In response to one of the greatest moral challenges of our time,  a group of leaders in our church committed to study, discuss, pray, and seek God’s guidance on how we might respond to questions raised about racial equity and justice. We read books, watched videos, and discussed our personal experiences related to race and discovered how much we have to learn.

Session Proposal  Four members of our group addressed Session proposing we make racial and social justice a two-year, strategic goal of our church, with the following threefold emphasis: 

Essential Components  Our approach will be biblical and invitational. Education is essential. We have learned that it takes a shared vocabulary in order to carry on a meaningful and productive conversation about racial concerns. Relationship building is necessary to understand the experiences of others whose lives may be different than our own. Community participation is required for racial equality and justice to be advanced throughout our immediate community—in education, health care, leadership representation, housing, policing, and income disparities. 

Pastor’s Challenge  I, Dale, am proud that we have made this commitment as a congregation. But a commitment is only as good as our follow through.  I am concerned that our efforts will be taken up by a concentrated few rather than by all of us. Of course, we come to this subject from different points of view, with different senses of urgency, and our approach can vary from individual to individual. But it is important we take this journey together and share what we learn as a whole church.  Therefore, as your pastor, I ask of you to take one step—at least one—to learn more and to grow in your understanding of racial and social justice. If, among the educational opportunities presented, you don’t see an avenue to participate, ask one of our team members and we will help you find one or create one. Please, choose at least one and let’s open our hearts and minds to what Jesus might have us do.

Allie Shoulders & Jan Thomas

Included in Session’s motion was the formation of an Anti-Racism and Social Justice Team to provide leadership and coordination of this goal to be led by elder Laurel Quast and team members: Keedra Carroll, Penny Cleary, Dale Flowers, Michelle Huntley, Kathy Karlen, Rich Mason, Paul Palmatier, Peter Schell, Allie Shoulders, Tim Stafford, Emily Stockert, Jan Thomas, Mark Thomas, Paula Umino, and Lesley Van Dordrecht.

Anti-Racism and Social Justice Team

Tim Stafford
Lesley Van Dordrecht 
Laurel Quast

Why does race-based social inequality continue in the United States?  This three-session class invites you to learn more about the basics of race and ethnic relations and how racism is perpetuated both personally and through institutions.  What is “systemic racism?” What role do those identified as white play in it? How can we help dismantle it? 

This three-week seminar invites us to learn more about the basics of race and ethnic relations and how racism is perpetuated both personally and through institutions. What is “systemic racism?” What role do those identified as white play in it? How can we help dismantle it?  

Sociologist, Family therapist, and Community educator --Dr. Richlin-Klonsky has taught, and learned from, thousands of college students in courses dealing with race and ethnicity offered at UCLA, SRJC, and SSU.  

Participants will receive an overview and introduction of this topic with resources for further study; including:  

  • A glossary of terms that defines around twenty of the relevant ideas – such as race, prejudice, discrimination, systemic racism, white privilege, and white fragility– and provides specific suggestions for learning more about each of them.  
  • Recommended follow-up activities for each session.

This class will be taught by Judith Richlin-Klonsky, a sociologist and family therapy specialist and hosted by Laurel Quast, Chair of the Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Team of First Presbyterian.

Wednesdays, January 27, February 3 and 10

7-8:15 PM via Zoom

What’s Going On?!  

Race-based Social Inequality: Why It Persists and What You Can Do About It.

Please view in advance of our gathering in January. If Beale Street Could Talk (R). 

If Beale Street Could Talk

Friday, January 22
at 7:00 PM

Wednesdays, Beginning February 24 at 7pm

Video discussion facilitated by Michelle Huntley, Penny Cleary, Rich Mason and Mark Thomas

This beautifully filmed  

adaptation of a James

Baldwin novel is a 

powerful story set in  Harlem in the early 70's.  

A major theme of the film is tragic racial injustice, but it manages to also feel optimistic through the tender love story and hopeful dignity of the main characters.  The rating reflects strong language.  

This film is available to stream on Amazon and YouTube for $3.99, as well as other streaming sources, or DVD through Redbox and Netflix.  A DVD is also available for a 2-day loan through Allie Shoulders.  Please click the RSVP button below to attend the discussion or to arrange a loan of the dvd at or leave a message at 707-890-8010.

time travel and is modeled on slave narratives. First 

published in 1979, it is still widely popular. It has been frequently chosen as a text for community-wide reading programs and book organizations, as well as being a common choice for high school and college courses.

Interested in joining us? We meet the first Sunday of the month. Click the sign-up button below.

Sunday, February 7 
at 4:00 PM

Literature Discussion Group

Movie Discussion Night

The Color of Compromise Discussion Group

Are you interested in joining the conversation about race? Please consider journeying with us as we go through The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby. This work tells the history of race in our Country thought the lens of the Church. Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile wrote that; “ Jemar Tisby points courageously toward the open sore of racism - not with the resigned pessimism of the defeated but with the resilient hope of Christian faith.”

This material is available as an electronic audio book or an eBook from the Sonoma County library, as DVDs which can be purchased or loaned, by streaming or as a paper book. The book and the videos cover the same material so any format you choose will give you plenty to join our discussion group. If you have questions about how to access this material in any of the formats or would like a scholarship to purchase this material, please contact Mark Thomas  at (707) 292-5788 or by email.

Your weekly (approximately 40 minute) investment will be to watch a short video (or two) or to read or listen to a chapter or two before our Wednesday evening meetings. We will have discussion questions for each week and will use our time together to share our reactions to this compelling material in conversations in Zoom community. We would love to have you join the conversation.

Kindred is a novel by American writer Octavia E. Butler that incorporates

Follow us for Updates