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


Reconciliation Commission

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 repeal 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

Grant Opportunities

To apply for funding for special projects and ministries through the Reconciliation Commission, please review and complete the Reconciliation Commission Grant Proposal.

Sustainability Development Goals:

To all who are involved in Reconciliation ministries and advocacy:

 On September 25, 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals that grew out of the Millennium Development Goals seeking to end poverty. In anticipation of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church voted to continue its budgetary commitment of 0.7% annually toward international development programs, and it encourages dioceses and congregations to do the same.

The Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) and the broader sustainability agenda go much further than the MDG; seeking to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. With goals that are practical and specific, 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 Reconciliation Commission supports the SDGs and has budgeted an annual grant of about $10,000 which, when recommended by Council and then approved each year at Diocesan Convention by way of the budget vote, is awarded to one or more not-for-profit organizations deemed by our SDG Committee to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable growth and development. In past years Diocesan SDG/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, an orphanage in Mexico, and more.

The Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) Grant application process for this year starts now and ends on November 15, 2019. 

Please read the guidelines included and make your recommendation in writing, sending it to SDG Committee member by November 15, 2019.   Complete applications will be discussed at the Diocesan Council meeting in December to assist the SDG Task Force in selecting the top 2019 finalist(s).

The SDG Committee and I look forward to reviewing your suggestions for this round of SDG Grants.


 The Rev. Canon Gail Avery

 SDG Committee

The Rev. Canon Gail Avery, Diocesan Staff Liaison

The Rev. Miriam Acevedo, St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield

Dana Dakin, St. Andrew’s Church, New London

Susan Lassen, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Portsmouth

Sallie Mackie, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Portsmouth

The Rev. Tobias Nyatsambo, retired priest

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  



Here is a curated set of additional resources, gathered by The Episcopal Church:

Websites, Videos, Bibliographies and Study Resources

A Way Forward

Reflections, Resources & Stories Concerning Ferguson, Racial Justice & Reconciliation

Beloved Community: Commission for Dismantling Racism

From the Diocese of Atlanta.

Exploring Diversity and Nurturing Cultural Competency

Province I Resources

Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America

The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Mississippi hosted a 90-minute forum.

Film: Traces of the Trade

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.

Lenten series on racial justice

Especially recommended: “Spirituality and Racial Justice” with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

Listen for a Change: Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice

Videos and readings from Trinity Institute 2016. Especially recommended: the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas’ video presentation.

Racial Justice Bibliography

These are print resources compiled by theological educators for use in a variety of faith community settings.

Formation and Training Organizations

Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training

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.

Seeing the Face of God in Each Other

The Antiracism Training Manual of the Episcopal Church.

The Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School

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

The Kaleidoscope Institute provides resources to equip church leaders to create sustainable churches and communities.

The Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation

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. 

Undoing Racism® : People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond

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.

VISIONS Inc. Taking Diversity and Inclusion to the Next Level

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

America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America

Jim Wallis - 2016


Ngozi Adichie  – 2014

Bloody July

An article writen by The Rev. Deacon Charles Allen Wynder, Jr., is the Episcopal Church’s missioner for social justice and advocacy engagement.

Constructing Solidarity for a Liberative Ethic: Anti-Racism, Action, and Justice

Tammerie Day

Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation

Jennifer Harvey - 2014

Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives

Howard J. Ross

Faces At The Bottom Of The Well: The Permanence Of Racism

Derrick Bell - 1993

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Bryan Stevenson

Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys

Victor Rios - 2011

Race Matters

Cornel West - 1994

Race: A Theological Account

J. Kameron Carter

Racing to Justice: Transforming Our Conceptions of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society

John A. Powell - 2015

Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace and Healing

Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice

Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God

Kelly Brown Douglas - 2015

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Michelle Alexander

Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race

Frances E. Kendall

What's Faith Got to Do with It?: Black Bodies/Christian Souls

Kelly Brown Douglas

Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do

Claude M. Steele - 2011

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America

Nancy Isenberg - 2016

Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It

Shelly Tochluk