Sacred Ground Lesson Topics

Session 3: Whose Land? Exploring Indigenous History


Participants Preparation (prior to Session 3):


1. Materials: Watch and read all materials as listed on the Sacred Ground Webpage.  

      They are as follows:


A. Watch:

  • PBS series: We Shall Remain, Episode 1: “After the Mayflower”

  • The Episcopal Church Exposes the Doctrine of Discovery 


B. Read:

  • In the article “The Map of Native Americans Tribes You’ve Never Seen Before”, be sure to look at Aaron Carapella’s map – the link is at the bottom of the article. Note that you can enlarge it by using the zoom-in feature along the right hand side of the map.  

  • “Unshackled by Visions and Values”  by Martin Brokenleg

  • Core book: Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman – forward & preface

  • Core book: Waking Up White by Debby Irving – chapters 1, 4-6, and 30


C. Additional Material:

  • Read “Doctrine of Discovery” – found on ASEC webpage for Sacred Ground under “Additional Resources”

  • Optional: Watch the following 6-minute video on the theme of justice in scripture and society.  It’s excellent and very relative to our program!

  • Optional: If curious, read “Indigenous People of Beaufort County” – found on ASEC webpage for Sacred Ground under “Additional Resources”.


2.   Regarding the videos and readings, we’ll invite your thoughts and/or reactions to:

a. The Doctrine of Discovery
b. The Church’s resolution re: the Doctrine of Discovery
c. Share one way in which your views of Native Americans have changed since your youth.
d.  Have you experienced or have stories from your family’s history that bear 
     our country’s treatment and understanding of Native Americans?


3.  Regarding “Waking Up White”

a. Can you personally relate to the notion of unearned “white privilege” in your life / experience?
b. Have you experienced “emotional restraint” as an American cultural prototype?
c. Do you agree that racism is the way America has sorted and ranked people?


4.  Regarding “Jesus and the Disinherited”

a. Is his message still relevant today and for whom? 

Session 4: Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery: Exploring Black History


1. Materials: Watch and read only the following from the Sacred Ground Webpage.  


A. Watch:

  • PBS Series: The African Americans: many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Episode 1: “The Black Atlantic: 1500 -1800”  (56 min)

  • Truth and Reconciliation Pilgrimage to Ghana, three short videos featuring Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, et. al. (23 min)


B. Read:

  • Article: “New England’s Hidden History” by Francie Latour in The Boston Globe

  • Core book: Jesus and the Disinherited – first half of Ch.1 to middle of p. 17

  • Core book: Waking Up White – Chapter 11


C. Additional Assignment:

  • Read our Summary of “The White Man’s Guilt by James Baldwin found on the ASEC webpage under Sacred Ground / Additional Resources. 




1. Read the entire essay “The White Man’s Guilt", by James Baldwin, also found on the ASEC webpage under Additional Resources. [The article found on the Sacred Ground website is difficult to read so we have reprinted it and posted it to the ASEC webpage.] 


2. Regarding the early History of Slavery in America:  

    • How do the portrayals of “Black Atlantic” and “New England’s Hidden History” differ from the early history of slavery in America with which we grew up?

        • In the TEC, Bishop Waldo speaks of blacks having to move to the other side of the street whenever a white person approaches. How does “make way for white people” capture what you have seen or experienced in your life, whether past or present? What examples come to mind?


3.  Regarding Becoming Beloved Community: 

How does this aspiration of Becoming Beloved Community square with Thurman’s assertion that:

“To those who need profound succor and strength to enable them to live ... with dignity and creativity, Christianity often has been sterile and of little value.”


4.  Regarding Systemic Racism and White Denial:   

    • What does Debby Irving tell us about “systemic racism”?

    • What does Baldwin tell white Americans about history and denial?

    • What do the voices of the Reconciliation Pilgrimage tell us about our reconciliation responsibilities?

    • What might it mean for European Americans to come from a place of grief and not guilt or defensiveness? 

Session 5: Whose Land? More Layers: Exploring Latino History


1. Materials: Watch and read all materials as listed on the Sacred Ground Webpage.  


A. Watch:

  • PBS Series: Latino Americans, Episode 1: “Foreigners in Their Own Land”  (53 min)

  • YouTube video: Guns, Germs, and Steel: How Europeans Came to Dominate the World, in 7 Minutes 


B. Read: 

  • Selection from book: Ripe Fields: The Promise and Challenge of Latino Ministry by Juan Oliver (pp. 5 -18)

  • Op-ed: “Moving Beyond the Black-White Binary”, by Roberto Lovato

  • Core book: Jesus and the Disinherited – second half of Ch.1 (p. 17 – 25)

  • Core book: Waking Up White – Chapter 13


C. Optional:

  • Watch Diane Sawyer’s Prime Live “True Colors” – found on the internet (16 min) 

Excellent and really makes an impact. 


2. In Regard to the Videos:

    • What most surprised you in the story of “Foreigners in Their Own Land”?

    • How has today’s material influenced your understanding of the Latino claim to full membership in American society?

    • Where do we see evidence that the problem is less racism and more Anglo ethnocentrism (belief that Anglo culture is superior)?


3. In Regard to the Readings:

  • In the “Ripe Fields” article, Lovato includes a quote: 

“We need to know to whom we are speaking, even in a general sense, before we know how best to communicate.” — Creating A Welcome Presence

        How does the “Ripe Fields” article and the “Beyond the Black-White Binary” help in this area?


  • What does Debby Irving tell us about the “iceberg phenomenon” and “selective seeing”?


  • What strikes you most in Thurman’s quest to better “understand the religion of Jesus”?  


All Saints Episcopal Church is the only Episcopal Church on Hilton Head Island. Join us for any of our services and hope you will call it home.

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Hilton Head Island, SC 29926