Ripley First UMC hosts and participates in 'Eracism Think Tank' for its Lauderdale County community


Ripley First United Methodist Church hosted members of a think tank committed to ending racism in Lauderdale County, Tennessee. (Submitted photos)

Ripley First United Methodist Church (UMC)in Ripley, Tennessee, hosted the first meeting of the “Eracism Think Tank” on June 6, an event joining community members dedicated to ending racism in Lauderdale County.

Gathering at Ripley First UMC's Wesley House, 31 people participated, composing an interracial, inter-generational and interdenominational group including Adventist, Baptist, Catholic, Church of Christ, Episcopal and Methodist participants.

Don and Charlotte Ammons, Mary Kathryn Coffman, Cynthia Glenn, Bill Kelly, Tommy and Donna Sanders, and Dolph and Jessie Smith from Ripley First UMC attended.

The group planned to read the book “Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Communit,y” by Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson, pastor of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, Missouri.

Donna Sanders, Martin Luther King Jr. celebration chair at Ripley First UMC, said the book describes racial activism using the Bible as a foundation.

“The phrase ‘holding up your corner’ is derived from a Biblical story (Mark 2:1-12) about four people who take action in order to help another person –literally delivering that person to Christ,” she said.    

Sanders said the book encourages readers to acknowledge the presence of racism in their communities, affirm the suffering of victims and take action to address injustice.

“The ‘Eracism Think Tank’ is off to a strong start, realizing that the only answer to racism is found through the mighty and infinite power of God,” Sanders said.

The Miles Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Martin, Tennessee, purchased copies of the books for all participants, and Immanuel Episcopal Church in Ripley, Tennessee, provided a meal before the meeting.

For more information, email Ripley First UMC at

~Compiled by John Vaught