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Conversation Panelists

SVPC is a safe place for thoughtful conversations about important issues, such as gun violence, the conflict in Korea, immigration issues, the refugee crisis, recovery from natural disaster, racism, and the water situation in Flint, MI. Most Community Conversations include a documentary film screen followed by discussion and Q&A with experts and local authorities.

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Conversations Sparked by NEXT Church 2021 National Gathering


Thursdays · June 24, July 22, August 26 · 7-8:30 p.m. · Over Zoom

These conversations will be opportunities for our community to reflect on selected keynotes/sermons from the NEXT Church 2021 National Gathering. The conversations will be about topics related to anti-racism, LGBTQIA+ inclusivity, and the opportunity for us all to live more fully into the radical call of Christ to bring hope to all peoples. They are also really challenging and we want to be able to process them in community together.

Look here for all the information about these sessions.



Becoming an Anti-Racist Church: Let Them See Us: Black Beauty Beyond the Mask


January 21, 2021

If you missed this Community Conversation, here is a video of the event.


In his seminal poem "We Wear the Mask,” Paul Laurence Dunbar spoke of how Black people create personas—masks—to hide the pain and trauma of racism. These masks take on many forms, but the goal is always to shroud ugliness in beauty. Indeed, racism shapes much of Black experience and identity, but there is more to Black people than trauma.

Many anti-racism trainings (rightfully) give attention to the dire effects of racism on communities of color. In this unique anti-racism education opportunity, we looked at how Black beauty and creativity arise apart from and in spite of racism, prejudice, and oppression. Using examples from the visual and performing arts, we had honest discussions about cultural appropriation, Black American aesthetics, and the “normative gaze.” Together, we worked to sensitize ourselves to the specific beauty of Blackness and envision a world in which “masks” are no longer necessary.

Rev. Denise Anderson, former co-moderator of the PC(USA) and current Coordinator for Racial and Intercultural Justice for our denomination, led this conversation.


Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing For Racial Reconciliation ● Book Discussion with Author Jennifer Harvey


October 6, 2020

If you missed this Community Conversation, here is a video of the event. The conversation begins at 4:30.


CC Book DiscussionAuthor Jennifer Harvey led a discussion about her book Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation (second edition).

Many thanks to bookseller Ashay By The Bay, for facilitating our bulk book order. Ashay By The Bay is a Black-owned bookseller based in Vallejo. They specialize in books for children and education, but also carry titles for adults. Check out their selection at





FLINT: The Poisoning of an American City


September 10, 2020

FLINT movie posterThis documentary film follows the city's interaction with Michigan's Flint River--from the continued abuse and neglect of both city infrastructure and environmental regulations, to subsequent population decline, through to Michigan's 2013 appointing of outside emergency managers. Flint explores the critical question of how this could happen in America and serves as a warning for the rest of the country. A recent report found that 5,300 American cities were found to be in violation of federal lead rules. This documentary educates and inspires action, seeking to radically change how we view and value water.


A Conversation with Reggie Williams on Bonhoeffer's BLACK JESUS


January 17, 2019

If you missed this Community Conversation, here is a video of the event.


Bonjoeffer's Black Jesus CoverAre we having a Bonhoeffer Moment?

Many American Christians look to Dietrich Bonhoeffer for wisdom on how to apply our faith convictions to our lives outside of the church—especially to civic and political engagement. In his latest book, Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance, author Reggie Williams describes how Bonhoeffer briefly lived and studied in New York, where he learned in Harlem’s churches about a black Jesus who stands with the oppressed. Not long after that, Bonhoeffer returned to his homeland to publicly confront Nazism and anti-Semitic racism in Hitler’s Germany.

Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church and Emmanuel Baptist Church invite you to join us for an evening of conversation about the life and legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and to learn how we can live out his faithfulness in our world today.

Reggie WilliamsDr. Reggie Williams, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago is a scholar whose research and writing offers insights into Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life, and helps us recognize similarities in today’s political landscape.

Locked In A Box movie posterImmigration Issues


September 17, 2018

Locked in a Box—This award-winning documentary film follows stories of individuals held in the U.S. Immigration detention system and those who visit them.

Kepulihan movie poster
Storytelling & Disaster Relief


May 24, 2018





A Conversation on Gun Violence


Homestead High School Student WalkoutApril 30, 2018


Perspectives on the Conflict in Korea


Memory of Forgotten War film posterJanuary 10, 2018

  • Memory of Forgotten War—Documentary film screening
  • Speakers: Deann Borshay Liem, Filmmaker, Dr. Christine Hong and Mr. Paul Liem, Korea Policy Institute leaders, Rev. Kurt Esslinger and Hyeyoung Lee, PC(USA) mission co-workers