In late 2020 we began to focus on the bedrock work of racial justice and racial reconciliation (learn more here). A ‘racial audit’ of our leadership bodies was conducted and reported back to council, staff, and clergy. Dean Paul and the council called for the formation of the Racial Justice and Healing Team, comprised of lay persons, staff, and clergy, to further digest the racial audit report and its recommendations and to begin laying out and executing concrete steps in moving forward a comprehensive plan, embarking the cathedral congregation and its leadership into this lifelong work. This work includes both the inner work of individuals and the interior work of the cathedral’s supporting ‘systems’ first, as the foundation for being part of the work of racial justice and racial reconciliation in our community.
Cathedral Racial Justice and Healing Formation Offerings
‘Becoming Beloved Community’: Where Saint Mark’s Begins Our Congregational Racial Justice and Healing Journey
Gather Round – “Becoming Beloved Community Where We Are” (via zoom; Weds. 1.26, 2.2, 2.9, 2.16, 2.23) was our first ‘toe in the water’ of our Racial Justice and Healing journey. We learned, pondered, and prayed together and began to have conversations among our members in a safe and secure environment. This is where we begin. Our Becoming Beloved Community curriculum is the ‘first fruits’ of the past year’s work of the Racial Justice & Healing Team, along with our visit in November 2021 with the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, author of ‘The Church Cracked Open.’ (Available in our Cathedral Book Shop). For recordings of these sessions and resources, see links on this page.
Becoming Beloved Community Resources and Session Recordings
Small Group Questions for Session One
- What resonated with you as key aspects of Beloved Community?
- How might the idea of Beloved Community be challenging to you, personally?
- How might it be challenging to the Saint Mark’s faith community?
- When or where have you experienced a glimpse of Beloved Community?]
Small Group Questions for Session Two
- What is something important to your identity that others may not see?
- When have you most strongly felt your identity as the Beloved of God?
- [How did that affect your thoughts and behavior?]
- Bp Loya shares how daunting it is in midlife to realize he has not faced the complexity of his identity and personal narrative as a grandchild of Mexican immigrants.
- What do you know about your own ‘racialized’ or ethnic history?
- [How might knowing this bring you closer to understanding the Beloved Community?]
Small Group questions for Session Three
- In just a word or two, how did you feel watching the first video?
- How are we, individually and collectively, part of this story?
- How has white cultural supremacy harmed you?
Small Group questions for Session Four
- How often have you worshipped in a church where you were in the racial minority?
- How might knowing more about African-American worship traditions enrich your worship experience?
- In “Intercultural Ministry,” Amy Butler writes:
“…we are comfortable with people who look different from us, but what about people who worship differently?”
- “All are welcome!” at SMEC.
- What would SMEC feel and sound like if it was a “diverse worshiping faith community”?
Small Group questions for Session Five
- Stephanie Spellers suggests that people drawn to the Episcopal church value “peace, propriety, and protection [security].”
- Does this speak to you?
- Where would you feel “risk” in being active in pursuit of racial justice and equity? Why?
- What specific “next steps” do you find possible or compelling in this journey?
Updates from the Saint Mark’s Racial Justice and Healing Team
The team has spent the last several months deeply digesting the racial audit report’s findings and recommendations, and with the help of ECMN Missioner for Community Engagement and Saint Mark’s Cathedral member Rachel Babbitt, is now in the process of finalizing specific plans for us to embark on the most important work of our lifetime and the lifetime of our beloved Saint Mark’s Cathedral. These plans will be shared with the council and congregation in the coming months and will launch us into the next phase of our work, where there will be an invitation for everyone to join in and take part in concrete, hands on ways. Stay tuned!
For More Information and to Become Involved
Please reach out to Mary Ramsbottom, current co-leader of the Saint Mark’s Racial Justice and Healing Team. The Venerable Rena Turnham, Archdeacon and Associate for Community Engagement, is the interim staff/clergy support for this team.
Racial Justice and Healing Resources
Racial Justice & Healing Next Steps for ECMN, by Bishop Craig Loya, May 26, 2021
For those seeking book recommendations, here’s a start. Consider buying your books at our cathedral bookshop:
- Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown
- So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo
- How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi
- Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Robin Diangelo