On the day of 2015’s racially motivated attack on nine black worshipers in Charleston, S.C., Pastor Kyle Meier of Peak United Methodist Church picked up the phone to call Rev. James Taylor at nearby St. Mary AME Church.

Those efforts began with dinners and shared services, but Taylor and Meier decided a book study would be the substance of the partnership. The title they selected, Jim Wallis’ “America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America,” made their intentions clear.
Between both churches, about 60 people showed interest when the book study began in September, but not all of them were immediately comfortable with the text or what would be asked of them during the next nine weeks.