“The mission of the St. John’s Antiracism Ministry is to learn about past and present racial injustices and privilege in ourselves, in the Episcopal Church, and in society. We will discern and acknowledge the injustices and privileges that have affected our Beloved Community, and we will strive to repair those breaches in justice. We are guided by our Baptismal Covenant: “Will you persevere in resisting evil and when you fall into sin repent and return to the Lord? Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?”
- Annual Report 2021
The Antiracism Group was formed in 2020 to learn about racial injustice and white privilege in ourselves, the Episcopal Church, and in society. We have continued to meet faithfully via Zoom over the past year.
In 2021, we turned our attention to the Sacred Ground curriculum provided by the Episcopal Church. In a series of ten meetings, we discussed the sets of documentaries and readings that “focus on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American histories.” As part of this curriculum, we read Howard Thurman’s Jesus and the Disinherited, as well as Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving. We recommend these books to you as good starting places for spiritual and informational resources on structural racism.
The Sacred Ground curriculum is part of the Episcopal Church’s program – Becoming Beloved Community (BBC) which is “a set of interrelated commitments around which Episcopalians may organize our many efforts to respond to racial injustice and grow a community of reconcilers, justice-makers, and healers.” During Advent compline services, we used excerpts from the Advent liturgies provided by BBC.
Also during Advent, some of us read and discussed the New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. We were enlightened, heartbroken and enraged by what we read, and it motivated us to act.
We are currently exploring our next steps, as we seek to turn our education into action. We are looking at the MA Diocesan toolkit on reparations, as well as a showing of Traces of the Trade or following another program. We may also encourage the use of more of the BBC liturgies.
We invite you to join us. Please contact Becky Snow.
Links to Massachusetts Episcopal Diocese
- Racial justice Commission Report
- The Process Toward Reparations: A Template
- Reparations 101
- The Episcopal Church and Slavery a Historical Narrative
- Reparation Resources and Suggested Reading List
Links to National Episcopal Church
- Sacred Ground. The Sacred Ground curriculum is part of the Episcopal Church’s program – Becoming Beloved Community (BBC). It is a 10 part series of videos and readings to explore racism in the US. The focus is on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific histories. The initial program was designed for groups of white people talking with each other to peel back the many ways whites have harmed people of color. A parallel program for congregations primarily of people of color or interracial congregations is being developed.
- Becoming Beloved Community is “a set of interrelated commitments around which Episcopalians may organize our many efforts to respond to racial injustice and grow a community of reconcilers, justice-makers, and healers.” https://www.episcopalchurch.org/sacred-ground/
- Racial Reconciliation
- Traces of the Trade
One of past rectors of St. John’s Episcopal Church was DeWolfe Perry. DeWolfe Perry donated the Parish House next to the church. he Parish house was later sold.
The De Wolfe family was based in Bristol, Rhode Island. They were revered there for their philanthropy. But much of the money came from sugar and other holdings in the Caribbean worked by slaves, and the family in its early history traded slaves. A few years ago as part of a diocesan initiative on slavery and Episcopalians, St. John’s had an evening showing of an award winning film about the DeWolfe family and a discussion. The film was Traces of the Trade. http://www.tracesofthetrade.org
Books of Interest
Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving
Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
The Warmth of Other Sons by Isabel Wilkerson
America’s Original Sin by Jim Wallis
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin D’Angelo