16. Augustine Tanner Ihm "People who decide to come to your church... you've got to give them good food."
Augustine Tanner Ihm is an assistant curate and Student, Mission and Outreach Director at St. James and Emmanuel Didsbury in Manchester in the Church of England - a writer, minister, speaker and facilitator. "Good stand up comics are good story tellers..." Augustine joins Winnie Varghese and Azariah France-Williams to talk finding home, and finding your voice - the craft of preaching and the gift of stand-up comedy to communicate the hard stuff. Augustine is a Doctoral Student in Transformational and Cultural Leadership and Practical Theology at Bakke Graduate University based in Dallas, Texas.
September 23, 2022
15. Jeff Chu: "Our hope is not for ourselves…”
“Those of us who feel a little bit of hope have a responsibility to share that. Our hope is not for ourselves…” Jeff Chu - writer, reporter, and editor and Teacher-in-Residence at Central Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan – joins Winnie and Azariah for conversations about God and race. “I’m not seen unless I’m useful to the white folks. I’m often not valued unless I’m prepared to bring them a blessing…” Jeff co-hosts with Sarah Bessey, Evolving Faith – a podcast for the wounded, the misfits, and the spiritual refugees, and a community where the wanderers find a home … “When I see the gratitude that they’ve expressed in response to the grace they’ve been given it inspires me to come up with my own versions of gratitude for the grace I’ve experienced…”
July 24, 2022
14. Kim Jackson: "The work of the gospel is beyond the walls of the church..."
US Senator and Episcopal priest Kim Jackson in conversation with Azariah France Williams and Winnie Varghese. "The work of the gospel is doing the work beyond the walls of the church... Jesus calls us to do this work of... preaching the word of liberation, or setting the captive free, of bringing good news to the poor... The only way to this was in the political square. I have taken this to heart carrying this into the Georgian legislation..." Kim is Senator for Georgia State Senate District 41, representing portions of Dekalb and Gwinnett counties. "You can carry a gun if you had a permit... a police officer, they are not going to question a white person who has a gun, they are just going to assume they have a permit. It's when a young black person has a gun that may well have been permitted properly that all hell breaks loose, and people feel threatened and kids get shot... This new law... black young men are going to continue to be targeted..." Kim, Azariah and Winnie on permit free gun laws, voting laws, the return of black American disenfranchisement, "holding your place in line" and finding hope. Kim works to bring the diverse voices of her district to the Capitol: immigrants, refugees, and people living on the margins. As the Vicar of the Church of the Common Ground, Kim co-creates Church with people who are experiencing homelessness in downtown Atlanta.
April 25, 2022
13: Natalia-Nana Part One "To embrace difference - that's costly, sacrificial, uncomfortable..."
This episode rich and candid conversation about God, race and racial justice in church and society with educationalist and activist Natalia-Nana, "You're dealing with institutions who don't want discomfort... My emancipation my liberation is actually expanding my view of God I see race work as spiritual as mental as social as economic and that's really hard..." Straight talking and honest discussion about finding solidarity in white majority institutions... "I find the conversation we're having frankly so hopeful in that its telling the truth..."
March 21, 2022
12. "Prophetic and fearless... and deep solidarity..." Azariah and Winnie on Recent Loss and Remembering
Winnie and Azariah on recent deaths and loss, remembering bell hooks; "She uses her grandmother's name... and doesn't capitalise her name... she decides to stand away from the institution that grant honour in different ways..."; Desmond Tutu, "his always outspoken support for LGBTQ people... his prophetic and profound commitment to justice, in ways that aren't what your PR consultant would recommend..."; and Harold Lewis, "Prophetic and fearless... and deep solidarity...", "He organised all of the funds... when our church still doesn't have that will, that bite, to provide what's necessary for people to flourish and thrive." Talking about life, death and remembering "You note the lives of these icons and wonder if we're doing them justice, if there is another generation emerging in the same way..."
February 16, 2022
11. Bev Thomas "I wasn't doing what they said I should do..."
"They chose to ban us from crossing certain lines because they didn't want us to be hurt. And I wanted to explore that and it got me into an awful lot of trouble... I wanted to explore the pain... and to understand what, 'every tribe, nation and tongue together worshiping' and all the people I saw in my local church all looked like me..." Activist, advocate, minister (and host of new HeartEdge podcast 'How...') Bev Thomas on "race", theology from a wider perspective, burning bridges, the legacy of Joel Edwards... and the best Christmas carol ever. Conversation about God and race with Winnie and Azariah.
December 18, 2021
10. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith “... If it’s not practical it’s not spiritual…"
“You cannot expect to experience grace except through other people…” Actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith - Wonka, (2023), Mary Poppins Returns (2018), Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021) and Doctor Strange (2016) - joins Azariah France-Williams and Winnie Varghese to talk God “… what can be more complex than the concept of the divine…” race, “... you learn very quickly to listen and adapt to your surroundings…” Plus the challenge of the peacock and the priest “… every actor imagines themselves to be the priest – the conduit for artistic excellence… the truth and character and story… but what it denies is this peacock… ” Lively conversation digging deep into faith, moving towards the good, being subject to joy... and living in the "as if...".
November 18, 2021
9: Anderson Jeremiah: "If we don't understand God in our context, God cannot be relevant..."
"You don't have to justify your place. This is your voice. And you have all the right to talk about God the way you want to talk..." Lecturer in Theology and Politics at Lancaster University and Church of England minister - Anderson Jeremiah joins Azariah and Winnie to talk God and race, home, 'Lament to Action', being black and outsiders in the Church-of-England and becoming fully engaged in structural change. "Many of those critical recommendations that we suggested that could have facilitated swift change... once you give in to recommendations you have to follow up with actual work." Plus stories of an embodied Jesus, and contextual and Dalit theology from the margin.
October 15, 2021
8. "Grace is something we all participate... we are all able to share..." Jarel Robinson-Brown
"I can’t separate the black part of me from the gay part pf me, from the British part of me. It’s all one part of me…" Theologian and activist Jarel Robinson-Brown joins Azariah France Williams and Winnie Varghese for lively conversation about God and race - ((G)race). "It’s not possible to compartmentalise parts of me… I can’t compartmentalise faith from gender, from sexuality, from class, from race… that’s my life. That makes sense of me..." Here, Jarel talks Methodism, African and Asian origins of Christianity, intersectionality and exile, finding James Baldwin, and older black Windrush generation parishioners... "If you can model some level of honesty and integrity then you allow other people to do that... that is what will help dismantle the unhelpful structures we have in place – more honesty, more integrity and more vulnerability from those who are in power…". Jarel is a theologian and Assistant Curate at St Botolph's-Without-Aldgate. Prior to full-time ministry Jarel studied classical music as a pianist and organist at the London College of Music, and privately in Paris.
September 08, 2021
7: "Organising people and money creates change…" Glenna J. Huber
“I was being introduced to organising before I knew what was organising… I organised a movement to make sure students had a voice… I believe that organising has implications for how we do church…” Glenna J. Huber is Rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Washington DC and previously Vicar at the Holy Nativity Episcopal Church, Baltimore. "I remember the fight to get the bus service… We would go to churches… if they were prominent black churches… you got buy in… you make change happen... You gotta be in relationship with the earth… with the people… listening… Organising people and money creates change…" A former consultant for urban congregations on community organising in congregational development, Glenna joins Azariah France-Williams and Winnie Varghese to God, race, community organising and extending grace.
August 13, 2021
6: "Speaking truth to power was the path my faith led me on…" Sam Lindo
Singer and activist Sam Lindo joins Azariah and Winnie to talk God, race, and finding home. "I spent my whole school trying to minimise my difference..." This episode Sam talks connecting faith to activism, getting arrested and ending up in court. "I was asked to move, and I didn’t… I got to proclaim that truth… Speaking to power literally was the path my faith had led me on… " Stories and inspiration - including tips on cheeky, playful, non-violent resistance... and a song!
July 08, 2021
5: "We hold each other up because of differences..." Mihee Kim-Kort
“You see us as perpetual foreigner…” Writer and Presbyterian minister Mihee Kim-Kort joins Winnie Varghese and Azariah France Williams for more inspired conversation about God and race ((G)race!). This time, anti-Asian violence and the response of the church; the 2017 Atlanta shootings, Rodney King and white policing … “… that’s what white supremacy does. It makes us enemies out of each other…” How do churches build diversity that go beyond ‘inclusion’, widening the communion table and deepening community? “We don’t stand in solidarity with each other because we have some common struggle… this ‘common experience’, but because of the complexity of our differences. We hold each other up because of those differences. Some things are not going to be easily translated.…” Mihee Kim-Kort is the author of ‘Outside the Lines: How Embracing Queerness Will Transform Your Faith’.
June 11, 2021
4. "God is not a white man..." Chine McDonald
"Our worship songs, the way that we do church are so wrapped up in this notion of Englishness..." Communicator and influencer Chine McDonald on home and Greenbelt, the power of personal story, redeeming white spaces, uncovering African spirituality and facing up to whiteness. Conversations about finding home, identity, God and race hosted by Azariah France Williams and Winnie Varghese.
May 13, 2021
Trail New (G)race - now monthly!
(G)race returns for conversation about God and race! Azariah France-Williams in the UK, Winnie Varghese in the US plus guests digging deep into identity, faith and life together. Now monthly dropping early every second Friday. Tell your friends and subscribe!
May 10, 2021
3. Sharon Lewis 'Afro-Futurism and recovering faith'
"Your work, the spirit is pulsating through it... it's deeply spiritual..." Writer, director and award-winning film maker, Sharon Lewis in conversation about God and race with Azariah France-Williams and Winnie Varghese. "Black History Month perpetually keeps us in the past... in an iconography we're repressed... We did rebel! We did fight back! We survived and thrived! We were not decimated in terms of spirit... The very basis of Black Future Month is that we exist..." Sharon, Azariah and Winnie on Christianity colonised (and releasing colonial attitudes), coding the future, extending sci-fi, giving up Jesus and recovering Christianity and the church, being angry... and dodgy haircuts...
March 05, 2021
2. David Neita 'Barriers, boundaries and finding home'
UK based poet and lawyer David Neita in conversation with Azariah France-Williams and Winnie Varghese. “I belong to the Lord – so this is my space…” How to build a space that is welcoming, diverse and hospitable. Plus, poverty, inequality and the importance of poetry to navigate the justice system… And birthing something creative into the world.
February 26, 2021
1. Broderick Greer 'Black imagination, white reactions'
Broderick Greer Canon Precentor at Saint John's Cathedral in Denver, Colorado US in transatlantic conversation with Azariah France-Williams (UK) and Winnie Varghese (US). Talking God and race - on black resistance, black dignity and joy - and 'being the allies'. Plus the ravages of white supremacy and finding freedom. And how do you pronounce (G)race?
February 19, 2021