I would like to offer my strongest recommendation for the Table Setters. As a pastor with a strong interest in racial understanding and justice, I was deeply satisfied with how Matthew and Marvin planned and facilitated their work with our group. From my first contact with them, the Table Setters were sensitive to context and thoroughly professional. I would like to comment on two aspects of their services in particular: (1) the role their friendship plays in the mission of the organization and (2) the ability to generate substantive conversations and interactions between participants.

I appreciated the authenticity of Marvin and Matthew’s friendship. It was clear that they were genuine companions in life. They were vulnerable enough to share the ups and downs of their relationship and they were honest about the difficulties of any friendship, let alone with a person of another race. Hearing about their friendship generated a sense of trust with our group and enabled us to see the real-life struggles and triumphs of healing racial divides.

The Table Setters are very skilled at inviting participants to share their own views with a sense of safety. When they want to challenge a person to think of something from a different angle, they do so with grace and humility. Their questions were framed in such a way that a person at virtually any level could engage. We actually had a 4-year-old who was able to participate in a meaningful way! It was fascinating to see how quickly the time passed as people fully invested themselves in the work set before them.

The Table Setters would be a worthwhile part of many types of gatherings. They can lead worship, facilitate conversation, plan diversity trainings in the workplace, and help develop plans for ongoing accountability. Once again, I give my unreserved endorsement of the Table Setters. We are so grateful to have worked with them!

Rev. Beau Brown

Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Olney, IL

Moderator of the Synod of Lincoln Trails