Neither the Episcopal church nor the parish of St. Bede’s is new to the complicated and often halting journey of seeing, naming and rooting out the racism that has been part of our movement since its beginning. In the Summer of 2020, our country entered into a moment of clarity about the legacy and perseverance of racism. What about us? Has this been an inflection point, a point where we individually and collectively choose (or choose again) to see, name, and root out racism in a renewed and sustained way?
Many of us continue working through the many anti-racism resources we find--booklists, calls to action, opportunities to demonstrate or sign petitions or give money. We can also be especially grateful for what the Episcopal tradition offers us.
Inspired by a conversation with one of the parents of young children here at St. Bede’s, our staff has gathered Episcopal resources to call us, inform us, challenge us, form us, and keep us on the long journey of ending and healing racism. St. Bede’s offers these short resources for us to consider on our own journeys to healing racism in our personal lives, in our congregation and faith tradition, in our community and country, and in our world.
Seeing My Skin--Peter Jarrett-Schell
“I struggle to locate the question of race in my own life. I am white, but I'm not always sure what this means. Indeed, most days, I don't notice that I am white. I think this is true of many of my folk. Like them, I was unprepared when confronted with questions of race.”
Click here to read online or download from Church Publishing. This is for white folks to learn about whiteness. If you are white, consider committing to reading the first six pages of this book before deciding if you will read the whole book. Then consider covenanting with a friend from St. Bede’s to reading the book and then having at least one conversation about it together.
If you are a person of color, please pray for the Holy Spirit to do her work in your white siblings who will be reading this book in the coming days and weeks.
Prayers for Racial Reconciliation and Justice--by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music subcommittee on Racial Reconciliation.
God works in us as we are formed by our common prayers. In our morning prayer for this season, we are using the Prayers of the People beautifully crafted by members of St. Bede’s. This resource offers a similarly re-envisioned Prayers of the People (with confession), around reconciliation and justice. https://standingcommissiononliturgyandmusic.org/2018/01/03/prayers-for-racial-reconciliation-and-justice/
God of grace,we pray for those who have died: For the faithful in every generation who have worked for justice; for prophets who call us to racial reconciliation; for martyrs who have died because of hatred; and for all the communion of saints. Make us faithful to your call to proclaim your Good News, by word and example, and bring us at last into the glorious company of the saints in light.
God of grace,
Hear our prayers for those who have died.
Silence—Add your prayers, aloud or silently in your hearts
Consider downloading, printing and praying these prayers. You might tuck them into your prayer book or set them on your bedside table to pray personally for one week. You might pray them together with your household or over Zoom at Bible Study, Mostly Mysteries, Choir, Bunco, VBS Sunday runthrough, or other gatherings of St. Bede’s.
May God hear our prayers and form our hearts for the long work of racial justice.
“A Litany for those who aren’t ready for healing” -- Dr. Yolanda Pierce
Let us not rush to the language of healing, before understanding the fullness of the injury and the depth of the wound.
Let us not rush to offer a band-aid, when the gaping wound requires surgery and complete reconstruction.
Let us not offer false equivalencies, thereby diminishing the particular pain being felt in a particular circumstance in a particular historical moment.
Let us not speak of reconciliation without speaking of reparations and restoration, or how we can repair the breach and how we can restore the loss.
My mother’s hip surgery didn’t go well. One result was that her body would not close the incision without also creating a cushioning sack of fluid under the skin. This protective sack would continue to swell, contained by her skin, but tearing her internal tissues apart.
The doctors opened the incision, drained the fluid, and tried to sew her up again. And again. And again.
Eventually it became clear: she would need to live with an open wound until they could figure out what her body really needed in order to truly heal. For years she did just that.
In our history as a nation and as a branch of the Jesus movement, we have attempted to close the wound of Racism. It cannot and must not remain closed. The tissues of our Body continue to reject and be damaged by these attempts.
May we have grace in this moment to press forward with this open wound, carefully protecting and draining it, listening together as one Body until we can make the changes needed for real healing to take place.
Consider downloading, printing and praying these prayers. You might tuck them into your prayer book or set them on your bedside table to pray personally for one week. You might pray them together with your household, other friends or family, or over Zoom at an online gathering of part of St. Bede’s body.
For easy printing: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s3gS6vlklrPVQb7dwSruMuBITCEv6DU1F1ELL1wGB10/edit?usp=sharing
The Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing YouTube Channel
“The Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing is imagined as a brave space where there is enough courage to allow for racial healing and reconciliation to occur.”
If watching a video is one of your preferred methods of learning, consider spending some time exploring the videos on the Absalom Jones Center’s channel. The videos range from Dr. Meeks reading and reflecting on a children’s book to a three-part webinar on Reimagining Policing. Atlanta is blessed to have Catherine Meeks leading us (and the national church) in this work.
--Listen to your first video (4 min):
After watching a video, call a friend at St. Bede’s, post on social media to start a conversation, or talk to someone in your household over a meal.
:Keep these resources at the top of your list.
Dismantling Racism Training
"Dismantling Racism training seeks to increase 'racial understanding, healing and reconciliation.' It is offered several times throughout the year and is required for all parish clergy and all lay leaders, including vestry members. Trainings are offered by the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing."
Consider investing one day in listening and growing with this excellent training. If you’ve received the training in the past, perhaps now is a good time to revisit it.
Sign up for training: http://www.centerforracialhealing.org/training-schedule.html