Striving for Change

Rev. Ryan Landino shares his passion for transformational ministry and antiracism work
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Until recently, Rev. Ryan Landino, MDiv/MACEF ’10, was perhaps best known for his humorous “Sixty Second Preacher” video sermons about the life of faith. Today, he uses this platform as well as his writing and speaking engagements to promote the dismantling of the White supremacy culture within the church.

“My main focus is transformational ministry,” says Landino, “which includes changing the culture of presbytery and congregations, with a focus on antiracism.”

Landino serves as lead presbyter for transformation at the Presbytery of Great Rivers in western and central Illinois. He spoke and was honored as an AAEC Service Award Recipient at the Seminary's 2021 reunion, an all-virtual event held May 10-12.

“I have a passion for teaching using a bunch of different formats, and this has helped me rally people around the kinds of changes we need to strive for.”

Landino says he modeled his Sixty Second Sermons after Baptist preacher and comedian Rev. Susan Sparks, with whom he connected through Princeton Theological Seminary’s Engle Institute of Preaching.

“While I was vaguely familiar with the ‘90 Second Sermon’ format that uses a flat background and teleprompter, Susan’s model was out in the street and much more spontaneous using humor, which I began to work into my preaching context at First Presbyterian Church of Geneseo,” Landino says. “The videos were in such demand that they became a weekly part of my exegesis process of helping a congregation embody the text,” he adds.

Not long after, a collaboration with the PC(USA) Office of Special Offerings provided the broadest platform for Landino’s videos and his “It’s A Wonderful Church” video parody of the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The parody, which showed what would happen to a church if there was no presbytery, was reported on by the PC(USA) media and shared on their social media accounts.

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Landino, who describes himself as an “aspiring” antiracist, also shares his written reflections on race, privilege, and culture on his blog. In his role as a member of the PC(USA) Special Committee on Racism Truth and Reconciliation, he is frequently requested to speak on the topic.

“My passion is a kind of inside-out antiracism that starts with myself and builds outward into my work, relationships, and view of the world,” Landino says. “As a former conservative, always White male, raised and situated in every demographic of privilege, I say I am aspiring as a way to express that being antiracist is an ongoing effort of deprogramming a lifelong socialization of White supremacy and patriarchy — and I can’t forget that. This is a liberative process of learning and listening and becoming,” he says.

Landino applies this learning daily as he coaches and listens to pastors and congregations on capacity building around antiracism, equity, and building beloved community. “There isn’t a week that goes by where I am not having a specific conversation around antiracism strategy that deals in structures and culture-shaping language,” Landino says.

Despite how daunting the task may seem, Landino hopes his work will help to bring about much-needed change.

“I never really felt growing up that I had a model of someone who could embody positive White racial identity and, also, from a place of cisgender heterosexual able-bodied male demographic, that could be boldly and ‘emulatably’ antiracist,” Landino says. “I want to be, in the world, what I needed for me when I was younger.”

On May 12, Ryan Landino delivered a lecture at Reunion 2021. Click to watch "Me and White Supremacy: Camera Angles, Questions, and Personal Awakenings."

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