TEE: Theological Education by Experience (Historical Tour)
Together We Can Revive: Retelling the Azusa Street Revival and Little Tokyo
BACKGROUND: Emmanuel Katongole captures the importance of stories and identity formation, positing, “Stories not only shape how we view reality but also how we respond to life and indeed the very sort of persons we become.” Considering the power of stories in identity formation, people of color suffer from identity confusion when education excludes their own histories and stories. Whereas mission still takes many Christians across oceans, the mission of crossing the streets in our own backyard appears remote despite its easy access by Metro light rail. All the more crucial now than ever, given the rapidly changing demographics in the U.S., is the church’s understanding of our neighbors. The theological education in seminaries and faith practices of local churches lack diverse stories and contexts. Students of color graduate from seminaries with dissonant identities due to the lack of resonant curricula, with existing curricula being highly Eurocentric. As a result, people of color remain disconnected from their own church histories and leadership legacies on this shore. Without resonant identifiers represented, non-European descendants confront identity crises and dissonance about who they are in their leadership formation.
DESCRIPTION: The 5th TEE (Theological Education by Experience) presents African American and Asian American faith leaders with two historically impactful pieces: 1) Japanese American Internment Camps; 2) the Bonnie Brae House, birth place of the April 9, 1906, Azusa Street Revival. The two contrasting stories—one a story of estrangement, and the other a story of engagement that transcended race, class, and gender in 1906—present ample implications for today. An experiential historical tour of Little Tokyo will provide participants the chance to excavate the hidden stories of Japanese American internment camps by walking 9 square city blocks of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. The Bonnie Brae House where the Azusa Street Revival broke out on April 14, 1906, still speaks to longings in us today—a revival of hearts that once again transcends the bigotry against differing beliefs, values, and practices. Crossing one’s own cultural/social/historical memories and entering into the Others’ builds hermeneutical bridges between our stories and that of others, which then ensues perceptual change.
KEY QUESTIONS 1) How do the two contrasting narratives of Little Tokyo and the Bonnie Brae House impact you? 2) How have your own stories and memories shaped who you are? 3) What connections with other ethnic groups’ experiences and histories affect my own? 4) How do others’ stories and histories reshape my own faith? 5) What additional civic engagement will I participate in as a result of “Together We Can Revive”?
PROGRAM GOALS 1) To cross my own ethnic boundaries and to bridge my and others’ stories. 2) To expand leaders’ imaginations and integrate diverse stories in living out the gospel.
ADMINISTRATORS: Young Lee Hertig, Executive Director of ISAAC
KEY LEADERS: Bill Watanabe and Tommy Dyo (Little Tokyo); Oscar Owens (Azusa Street Revival Site at the Bonnie Brae House)
Location: Union Church of Los Angeles, 401 East 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90013
Bonnie Brae House, 215 N Bonnie Brae, Los Angeles, CA 90013
REGISTRATION FEE: $50.00
SCHEDULE Saturday (LITTLE TOKYO and Bonnie Brae House)
9:15 AM Registration
9:30 AM Welcome and History of Union Church [Young Lee Hertig/Tim Yee]
9:45 AM Session 1: Japanese American Stories 1 [Bill Watanabe]
10:00AM Japanese American Stories 2 [Tommy Dyo]
10:15 AM Japanese American Stories 2 [Tommy Dyo]
10:30AM Session 2: Little Tokyo Walking Tour with Bill Watanabe and Tommy Dyo
11:30AM Regroup at Union Church for Q&A Noon Lunch & Discussion (Bento Box lunch at Union Church)
Q 1. What implications do the stories of Japanese American internment have for my faith communities? Q 2. What additional civic engagement do I commit to as a result of connecting with Japanese American stories? 1
2:45PM Visit to the Bonnie Brae House 1:00PM Arrival and Tour of the House
1:30PM Session 3: Retelling the Azusa Street Revival (Oscar Owens)
2:30PM Small group: Contemporary Implications of Japanese American Internment Experiences and the Azusa Street Revival
3:00PM Prayer and Announcement
3:15 PM Evaluation