Season of Racial Healing, Justice, & Reconciliation
By resolution of its Annual Convention the Episcopal Church in Connecticut decided to enter a two-year "Season of Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation. It declared that on the second Sunday in February, all parishes will be asked to begin a conversation with their congregations about the sin of racism in ECCT by hosting a forum on racial reconciliation. The Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation Ministry Network strongly recommends using these video and discussion questions from the joint session on racial reconciliation held at the 2018 General Convention in Austin, Texas.
The initial goals of the Season are to:
- introduce foundational concepts, language, and tools to help encourage and enable congregations to begin opening hearts and minds;
- recognize the reality of white supremacy and bias against people of color;
- awaken Episcopalians in Connecticut to the need for concerted action to address the ongoing injustice of the racial divide.
Supporting groups who are engaged in this work include (and are not limited to):
- Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation Ministry Network (includes members of Leadership Gathering working group)
- Clergy Allies on Race
- Clergy of Color
- Region missionaries and Region leadership
- ECCT Bishops, Canons, and other staff
The ECCT Annual Convention also approved:
- funding a 10-hour/week ECCT position to assist other Episcopalians in gathering, curating, and distributing/disseminating educational resources to address the history of White supremacy; facilitate the conversation on racism; identify models of reconciliation locally and globally; and encourage more civic involvement surrounding the issue of racism;
- creating a report and process for all ECCT parishes to report in detail how they have engaged in conversation, study, and action regarding racial healing, justice, reconciliation, and the sin of racism;
- training all leaders in clergy transition on the impact of white privilege and the importance of including diverse candidates in every search
- asking parishes in clergy transition processes to report the number of candidates of color included in their process;
- declaring that all searches for ECCT staff positions include at least two people of color, or one if there are fewer than four people in total, among the final candidates interviewed.
In addition the Leadership Gathering of ECCT approved recommendations to:
- host a one-day workshop with Kelly Brown Douglas on the history of racism open to all in ECCT; this will be held at Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford on April 6, 2019 and Dean Lina Howell is the contact for this event;
- offer training for missionaries and other facilitators in each Region so they are equipped to lead truth-telling conversations accompanied by active listening; a leader from the Absalom Jones Center in Atlanta, Georgia, will lead this in June, 2019 at a location and date TBD.
- coordinate field trips to significant places such as St. Luke's, New Haven; the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C.; the Center for Reconciliation in Providence, RI; the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, informally known as the National Lynching Memorial
- develop a strategy for raising new, diverse leadership in ECCT
- invite Camp Washington and parishes to teach children meaningful lessons around difference in 2019, and to consider using the youth curriculum from the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing for that work;
- formalize the integration of the Leadership Gathering working group on race with the existing Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation Ministry Network, and to create a clear charter with specific accountabilities and deliverables;
- support the Commission on Ministry in fulfilling their charge to incorporate racial reconciliation work (reading, conversation, experiences) in the ordination process;
- hold a diocesan-wide book discussion during a designated time that will be supported by a discussion guide
- provide a web page or content area for resources; provide other communication and media content