Scene and Unseen: Facing Race Through Film
Scene and Unseen: Facing Race Through Film

Scene & Unseen: Facing Race Through Film

February 8-9, 2019
St. Paul’s Chapel


This conference will use film as a vehicle to engage in conversations about structural racism, both past and present, and faith. Participants will explore how cinema can reveal entrenched inequities, foster dialogue, and ignite transformation towards healing and reconciliation. These conversations in our faith communities aren’t optional; they are the gospel.

In lieu of Trinity Institute, in 2019 Trinity Church Wall Street’s Faith Formation & Education and Justice & Reconciliation departments are co-hosting this important conference in 2019. We welcome past Trinity Institute participants to attend or stream on-demand this event.

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  • The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, theologian and author, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God; Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Seminary

  • Greg Garrett, PhD, Professor of English at Baylor University and author, The Gospel According to Hollywood

  • Catherine Meeks, PhD, Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing and editor of Living into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America

  • More to be announced


Schedule of Events

Friday Evening, February 8
Film Screening & Panel Discussion - Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing

Released thirty years ago, this Academy Award-nominated film ultimately asks its audience how we can know and do the right thing in the face of ignorance, oppression, and the threat of violence. The panel will explore the film theologically, culturally, and politically.

The Friday events are free and open to the public.

AGENDA (subject to change):

6:00 pm - Welcome and Opening Remarks

6:15 pm - Screening: Do the Right Thing

8:15 - 9:00 pm - Panel Discussion*

Saturday Daytime, February 9
A full day of talks, panels, and reflection groups

These events will explore how the primary narrative medium of our time can inform and nurture preaching, action, and formation.

AGENDA (subject to change):

9:00 am - Registration Opens | Continental Breakfast, St. Paul's Chapel

10:00 - 10:15 am - Welcome & Warm Up (song & prayer)

10:15 - 10:45 am - Keynote Speaker*

10: 45 - 11:30 am - Scene & Unseen: Theology and Film* 
Kelly Brown Douglas (Episcopal Divinity School)
Greg Garrett (Baylor University)
Stanley Talbert (Union Theological Seminary)

11:30 - 11:45 am - Break

11:45 am - 12: 30 pm - Table Group reflections on the morning's presentations

12:30 - 1:15 pm - Lunch 

1:15 - 2:00 pm - Preaching & Teach Film & Race*
Lisa Thompson (Union Theological Seminary)

2:30 - 3:30 pm - Race & the Journey to Healing* 
Catherine Meeks (Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing)

3:30 - 4:00 pm - Table Groups

4:00 - 4:15 pm - Break 

4:15 - 4:45 pm - Where Do We Go from Here?*
Kelly Brown Douglas & Greg Garrett
Dialogue (15 minutes) and Q&A (15 minutes)

4:45 pm - Closing Remarks

5:00 pm - Adjourn

Saturday Evening, February 9
Reception, Film Screening & Panel Discussion – Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casals’s Blindspotting

The evening begins with a reception featuring hearty appetizers and beverages (wine & non-alcoholic offerings) and an opportunity to network with fellow conference participants and speakers, followed by a screening and panel discussion of the 2018 film Blindspotting. This critically acclaimed film features a story about friendship and the intersection of race and class set against the backdrop of rapidly gentrifying Oakland.

AGENDA (subject to change):

5:15 pm - Reception

6:15 pm - Welcome & Opening Remarks

6:30 pm - Screening: Blindspotting

8:10 - 8:55 pm - Panel Discussion*

* Available post-conference online


  • A sliding scale is offered for those participating in the full conference ($100-$300). For groups of 4 or more, student discount codes, or payment by check, please contact

  • Those who wish to attend only the Saturday-evening reception, film screening, and panel discussion pay $40.

  • Discounted room blocks have been arranged with local hotels.