Aurora church to offer workshop on ‘Discipling Anti-Racist Youth’

“Discipling Anti-Racist Youth: Part 2,” a free workshop, will be held on Saturday, May 18, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church, 14 N. May St. in Aurora.

Youth leaders and aspiring youth workers are invited. Admission, breakfast and parking are free.

Workshop facilitator is Richard Guzman, North Central College professor emeritus and a member of the United Methodist Northern Illinois Conference Anti-Racism Task Force. He will discuss and engage with youth leaders to wrestle with and share insights on leading youth to grow into critical-thinking, racial justice-minded followers of Jesus Christ.

Guzman said, “A conversation about being an anti-racist church began amongst youth leaders from around the conference at Wesley UMC in Aurora on Saturday, April 13. However, more needs to be said and done.

Discipling Anti-racist Youth, a collaboration between NIC anti-racism and discipleship task forces, invites youth Leaders and those desiring to work with youth back to continue the conversation.

The discussion will start with breakfast followed by a two-hour workshop. There is no cost, but online registration is required at

Guzman added, “This workshop conveys facts and essential knowledge about race and racism. We seek to help participants experience some of the harm and hurt racial prejudice has caused.

“The workshop emphasizes engagement, not confrontation. To make progress on race, we have to stay engaged, even with people we disagree with.”

Trained facilitators lead story sharing, helping people connect personally with presentations. Small-group discussions follow presentations.

According to Guzman, the program rebalances views of the personal vs. the systemic. “Though we talk about the harm personal racism causes, we also have to become aware of systems,” Guzman said.

Relationships are paramount, he emphasized. Through friendships and alliances, people can unite to counter racism. The workshop is respectful while confronting hard issues. Guzman concluded.

The program was launched by a pilot workshop for churches in 2021 at Friendship UMC in Bolingbrook. Other churches hosting the workshop are North Shore UMC, First UMC in Glencoe, First UMC in Elmhurst, and First UMC in Elgin.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.