A church in suburban Chicago announced that it is fasting from “whiteness” during lent. In order to do so, the church will be abstaining from hymns composed or written by white musicians, among other things.
“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,” wrote the First United Church of Oak Park in a statement. “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,” the church continued.
Additionally, the church erected a “Fasting from Whiteness” sign on its front lawn, according to Turning Point USA. The outlet also managed to obtained screenshots that detail the church’s commitment to fasting from whiteness. “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,’” the church reportedly said about a minority pastor.
First United Church’s members were also encouraged to view “whiteness-free” services on its YouTube channel, Turning Point USA reported.
Rev. Lydia Mulkey further explained the fast in a video statement. “In this fast from whiteness, of course, I cannot change the color of my skin or the way that allows me to move through the world but I can change what I listen to, whose voice I prioritize,” Mulkey said. “And so that is kind of the place for our worship services, through Lent, that we would fast for a time from prioritizing white voices.”
The church is located in Oak Park, Illinois, which is located about 25 minutes outside of Chicago.