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Faculty member reflects on antiracism listening sessions
Recently, I had the privilege of hearing from our Black social work students in a Listening Session hosted by our departmental administration. The students were vulnerable and raw and brave. They expressed exhaustion and hope and disappointment. They pointed out ways in which the Garland School of Social Work could be better, Baylor could be better, and our curriculum could be more inclusive and supportive. Many of our Black, Indigenous, and Students of Color have likely felt this for many years, but they finally had the collective voice and platform to express this hurt. I am thankful for them and to them.

I will be honest, some of it was hard to hear. My thoughts raced, and I found myself internally defending a program I have worked hard to help develop, a program that I attended as a student. I was uncomfortable. I was sad, and I was even more saddened when I realized I was making it all about me. You see, my discomfort is one small insight into the discomfort I imagine that BIPOC feel in so many spaces. And, I also realized it is time for me (as a White person) to also be uncomfortable.

Racial justice work takes deep inner work. As Ronda V. Magee writes in her recent book, The Inner Work of Racial Justice, “Racial literacy requires emotional awareness. If you are like most people, you will feel strong emotions in reaction to what others share about race and – you will also feel emotional when you reflect deeply on your own experiences.”

This means that I have to sit with the discomfort I feel and examine the places I have been the perpetrator of racism and privileged by racist structures. All of this introspection requires a willingness to dig into the discomfort, to be wrong, to apologize, to make reparations and to try again.

Read full article here.
School’s history reflects changing Southern Baptist attitudes
Laine Scales at Baylor University believes the history of a school that ceased to exist 23 years ago is worth telling because of what it reveals about changing Southern Baptist attitudes toward gender roles and social ministries.

Laine Scales
Scales, a professor in Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, and co-author Melody Maxwell, associate professor of church history at Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia, Canada, wrote Doing the Word: Southern Baptists’ Carver School of Social Work and Its Predecessors, 1907-1997.

Scales and Maxwell trace the history of the school through its various iterations—the Woman’s Missionary Union Training School for Christian Workers, the Carver School of Missions and Social Work and finally the Carver School of Church Social Work at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In spite of “twists and turns” along the way, Scales sees one constant: “It’s never a predictable or boring story.”

Read the full article here.
Professor awarded grant to support ethnographic research in today’s African American church
The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship has awarded Baylor University’s Dr. Stephanie Boddie a grant of nearly $18,000 to support ethnographic study of ways to create worship practices that integrate traditional theology, Negro Spirituals, storytelling and social history.

Amid increasing racial tensions and a decline in church attendance by millennials, Boddie’s research project focuses on establishing worship practices that help African American churches reconnect spirituality with the social justice legacy of the African American Church. The research will also examine how corporate worship practices, coupled with individual spirituality, creates transformative church experiences and communities.
Voices: Congregations and social work into the unexpected
When someone like me—a community practice social worker—begins work with a new group, organization or community, I ask questions like: “What is the lived experience for this group or community? What systems are impacting them? What systems are they impacting? What are the strengths of this group or community? Who do we need to listen to? What resources already are available to serve this group or community best?”

As states re-open and congregations create their plans in response to COVID-19 for returning to corporate gatherings, the questions at hand may look very similar for church leaders: “How do we move forward? What do we need to consider or listen to? Who needs our care? How will our worship, fellowship and service look different going forward? What resources already exist in our community?”
Houston student seeks to serve peers with lasting advocacy
According to study after study, college students suffer food insecurity at alarming rates. Many face the reality of having no idea where their next meal will come from. Houston MSW student Joyelle Gaines hopes, however, to make this a thing of the past with a new venture called the Joy Store.

The Joy Store is a student food pantry that opened this semester on our Houston Campus thanks to Joyelle’s advocacy, and she hopes it will help students just like her.
Baylor University honors outstanding faculty 2019-2020
WACO, Texas (May 5, 2020) – Twelve Baylor University professors have been honored with Outstanding Faculty Awards for teaching, scholarship and contributions to the academic community for the 2019-2020 academic year.

The Outstanding Faculty Awards recognize the best all-around professors – including non-tenure track, tenured and tenure-track faculty – based on teaching capabilities, research achievement, time spent with students and church and community service.
While you are at home: Helping children cope during the COVID-19 pandemic
The past two weeks have been a whirlwind to say the least, shaking us to the very core, evoking mixed emotions from deep within namely: sorrow, grief, anger, frustration, fear, worry, depression, anxiety, confusion, tranquility, calmness, empathy, love, and gratitude. Everyday activities have come to a standstill as we are forced to stay at home; in a flash, life has turned upside down with death and destruction of people’s livelihood across a large number of nations. Suddenly, we are faced with a stressor called uncertainty, the fear of the unknown not just to us as individuals, but to us as citizens of this world. This monumental problem of COVID-19 has forced us into a crisis-mode, with great devastation caused by something only visible under the microscope; coming to us like a thief in the night confronting our very existence.
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