Becoming the Beloved Community: Racial Reconciliation
"The 78th General Convention of our Church did a remarkable thing: the General Convention invited us as a church to take up this Jesus Movement. We made a commitment to live into being the Jesus Movement by committing to evangelism and the work of reconciliation — beginning with racial reconciliation … across the borders and boundaries that divide the human family of God. This is difficult work. But we can do it. It’s about listening and sharing. It’s about God.” ~ Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry
The newly formed Human Dignity/Outreach Commission has undergone another name change that is more reflective of the reconciling work Jesus is calling us into. Now known as the Reconciliation Commission, we feel our new title lifts up the mutuality and interweaving represented by the Vine, among our parishes and one another as we are called to serve and care for the most vulnerable of the world.
We uphold the following diocesan priorities to speak and witness to in the public sphere: Homelessness; racial reconciliation; human trafficking and sexual exploitation; stewardship of creation; gun violence; mass incarceration; and the repeat of the death penalty. Good work continues to be done in these and other areas — thanks to those within our communities and parishes who work tirelessly (and passionately) advocating for those who have no voice.
In prior years we have funded a nutrition program in a province of Angola ravaged by a drought-caused famine. A number of water pumps also have “flowed” into Cuba. Locally, DisMas House - a home for parolees transitioning to their new lives has been opened. As a result of our support, free legal aid is being provided. We continue our support of organizations like Granite State Organizing Project, American Friends, Upper Valley Interfaith Project, Ascentria, and Voices of Faith that are hard at work addressing our current refugee/immigration crisis.
We also have joined the church-wide invitation of “Becoming Beloved Community: The Episcopal Church’s Long-Term Commitment to Racial Healing, Reconciliation and Justice” and are exploring ways to advance this work across our diocese. In collaboration with other diocesan committees, we have begun envisioning how this might be further proclaimed in New Hampshire but first we must tell the truth about “Who are we? What have we done and left undone, regarding racial justice and healing?
A paraphrase of theologian C. S. Lewis is helpful here: “We cannot go back and change the beginning…but what we can do is start where we are now and create a different ending.”
The Rev. Canon Gail Avery, Canon for Transition Ministry and Community Engagement
Sustainability Development Goals:
To all who are involved in Outreach ministries and advocacy:
This summer, during our 79th General Convention, the Episcopal Church voted to continue its support of the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals as the successor to the Millennium Development Goals. Resolution B026, Embracing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, makes clear that the Sustainable Development Goals should serve as the template for development efforts in the Episcopal Church. It also commits 0.7% of the Episcopal Church’s budget to be devoted to development projects shaped through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals and encourages dioceses and congregations to do the same.
The Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) and the broader sustainability agenda go much further than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); seeking to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change by 2030. With goals that are practical, the intention of the SDGs is that no one is left behind.
Here are a few distinctions between the SDGs and MDGs that Episcopal Relief and Development has noticed:
· There are 17 SDGs compared to 8 MDGs
· The SDGs are universal, addressing poverty everywhere it exists. For instance, the United States is equally accountable for poverty alleviation at home as it is abroad.
· There is a paradigm shift in how development is approached in the goals. The SDGs put each country in charge of its own strategy.
· The SDGs place a heavy emphasis on data collection and measuring outcomes. However, it is difficult to establish uniformity in measuring outcomes in countries with differing local contexts, environments and resources.
· Gender equity is front and center in the goals because a disproportionate number of people living in poverty or without access to power and influence are women.
The Diocesan Commission of Reconciliation supports the SDGs and has budgeted an annual grant of about $10,000 which, having been recommended by Council and then approved each year at Convention through the budget vote, is awarded to one or more not-for-profit organizations deemed by our SDG Committee to alleviate poverty and foster sustainable growth. For example in past years Diocesan MDG awards have gone to a library in S. Africa, a Parish Health Clinic in Honduras, The Women’s Trust in Africa, Native American Outreach in Maine, and an orphanage in Mexico.
The Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) Grant application process for this year starts now and ends on October 31, 2018.
Please read the guidelines included and make your recommendation in writing, sending it to SDG Committee firstname.lastname@example.org by November 15, 2018. Grant applications will be reviewed at Diocesan Council to assist the SDG Task Force in selecting the 2018 finalist(s).
The SDG Committee and I look forward to reviewing your suggestions for this round of SDG Grants.
The Rev. Gail Avery, Canon for Transition and Community Engagement
The Rev. Canon Gail Avery, Diocesan Staff Liaison
The Rev. Miriam Acevedo, St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield, Chair
Dana Dakin, St. Andrew’s Church, New London,
Richard Formica, Christ Church, Guilford, CT
Susan Lassen, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Portsmouth
Sallie Mackie, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Portsmouth
The Rev. Tobias Nyatsambo, St. James, Laconia
Elizabeth Rotch, Church of Our Saviour, Milford
Sustainable Development Goals:
· Goal 1: To end poverty in all its forms everywhere.
· Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
· Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
· Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.
· Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
· Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all.
· Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
· Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.
· Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
· Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries.
· Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
· Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
· Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
· Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources.
· Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.
· Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
· Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
More information is available on the UN website at www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment
Here is a curated set of additional resources, gathered by The Episcopal Church:
Websites, Videos, Bibliographies and Study Resources
Reflections, Resources & Stories Concerning Ferguson, Racial Justice & Reconciliation
From the Diocese of Atlanta.
Province I Resources
The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Mississippi hosted a 90-minute forum.
Filmmaker Katrina Browne discovers that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She and nine cousins retrace the Triangle Trade and gain powerful new perspectives on the black/white divide.
Especially recommended: “Spirituality and Racial Justice” with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Videos and readings from Trinity Institute 2016. Especially recommended: the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas’ video presentation.
These are print resources compiled by theological educators for use in a variety of faith community settings.
Formation and Training Organizations
Recognizing that racism goes beyond personal prejudice, Crossroads offers a distinctive Power Analysis of how racism functions in institutions, and offers tools to create antiracist transformation.
The Antiracism Training Manual of the Episcopal Church.
Reconciliation is a collaborative process. The Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity works to collaborate both locally and globally by stimulating a growing network of reconciliation scholars and practitioners as well as offering robust resources for reconciliation.
The Kaleidoscope Institute provides resources to equip church leaders to create sustainable churches and communities.
Envisioning a world where people honestly engage in their history in order to live more truthfully in the present; where the inequities of the past no longer dictate the possibilities of the future.
The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond focuses on understanding what racism is, where it comes from, how it functions, why it persists and how it can be undone.
Our vision is to be a catalyst for a more equitable world where differences are valued and used for the benefit of all.
Books and Articles
Jim Wallis - 2016
Ngozi Adichie – 2014
An article writen by The Rev. Deacon Charles Allen Wynder, Jr., is the Episcopal Church’s missioner for social justice and advocacy engagement.
Jennifer Harvey - 2014
Howard J. Ross
Derrick Bell - 1993
Victor Rios - 2011
Cornel West - 1994
J. Kameron Carter
John A. Powell - 2015
Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice
Kelly Brown Douglas - 2015
Frances E. Kendall
Kelly Brown Douglas
Claude M. Steele - 2011
Nancy Isenberg - 2016