Race and Gratitude

The Distillery Season 3

How can pastors of predominantly white congregations thoughtfully address racism from the pulpit? In this interview, Carolyn Helsel encourages preachers to start from a place of gratitude rather than shame or guilt. Author of “Preaching about Racism: A Guide for Faith Leaders” and “Anxious to Talk about it”, Carolyn gives practical advice for delivering sermons about race that are theologically and biblically grounded.

The Distillery is a podcast that explores the essential ingredients of book and research projects with experts in their field of study. Learn what motivates their work and why it matters for Christian theology and ministry.

Helsel Carolyn


Carolyn B. Helsel teaches preaching at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and is a minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She holds a PhD from Emory University, where her dissertation developed a hermeneutic for preaching about racism. She is the author of two books, Anxious to Talk About It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully About Racism (Chalice Press: 2018) and Preaching about Racism: A Guide for Faith Leaders (Chalice Press: 2018). Prior to teaching, Helsel served as transitional pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Sudbury, Massachusetts, the associate director of admissions for Princeton Seminary, and the associate pastor of John Calvin Presbyterian Church in San Antonio. She and her husband, Phil, live with their two children in Austin, Texas.

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Youth Minister at Busbridge and Hambledon Church, Surrey, U.K.

Antonin Ficatier, Class of 2016

“What I like about working in an international church is that I’m always reminded that I’m a foreigner, that the land is not mine and I’m just a passenger on this journey.”