The Diocesan Reparations Task Force continues to meet monthly to learn more about reparations and discern processes for sharing funds. The past two meetings of the task force have involved relationship building among committee members, Biblical and historical background on reparations and societal anti-black racism practices, as well as discussion of Scripture relating to slavery and reparations.
Like the journey to reparations in our country, there are many steps along the path to forming a way to reparations in our diocese. In September of 2020, our diocese passed a resolution creating a task force to oversee a $1 million endowment seed fund for reparations. There are many roads the journey can take on determining a process for reparations that meets our diocesan, faith and spiritual priorities.
There can be no love without justice and no justice without some form of repairing an injustice. As we continue to move into a deeper understanding of God’s mandate to proclaim “the message of reconciliation to which God has called us as ambassadors for Christ,” (II Corinthians 5:18-20) much like in our Baptismal Covenant, we must understand this message deeply so that we can live it fully.
Please keep the task force in your prayers as they do the hard work of developing a plan for reparations.
The Rev. Nancy Hennessy and Mr. Stephen Gibson
Co-chairs, Diocesan Reparations Task Force
Stories from our Truth and Reconciliation blog
John the Baptist knew all about the wilderness, and he knew a way out of it: hope. Hope conquers the deserted places in your life. The French word for despair, desespoir, literally means to “un-hope” (de-aspire). When one loses hope, then all the joy of life flies out the window.
This is a piece of the David narrative that we never hear on Sunday mornings. It spoke to me, because in it we witness a really important moment in David’s life. The moment when David makes reparations to the family of Saul.
Juneteenth is an opportunity to tell and retell the story of the consequences of racism and the ongoing struggle for Black and Brown people; indeed for ALL racial minorities in a nation that is so often willing to ignore, if not deny, the reality of structural and pervasive racism. Black and Brown people have suffered generations of trauma, physical violence, and deaths, and exclusion from fair opportunities for economic growth and the full participation in the benefits of citizenship.
As a result of the second clinic, St. Paul’s and Communion Way of the Cross Church are now engaged in conversation with the Calvert Health Department to partner in communication about services available, as well as exploring ways to provide spaces and events to aid in community health. For St. Paul’s this falls directly into the purview of our mission statement: “We believe that through our Baptism, Christ calls the Church to be a place of healing, wholeness and hope.”
We know that we need good policing in our communities. We honor and respect those police officers and other first responders who put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect us. The overwhelming majority of them are good people, and we pray for their safety and the courage to perform their duties for the common good. But we need them also to have the courage to call out and challenge the racist language and practices of the few that mar the good name of the many faithful servants – much like so many did in the George Floyd trial, including the Minneapolis Police Chief and several other officers.
The reparations committee has been named and its work has begun. In the upcoming months, the group will be discerning and developing a process for how the disbursement generated from this seed fund will be spent each year.
As Christians, we must commit to the truth of Audre Lorde’s assertion that “there is no hierarchy of oppression,” and to remember that as the Body of Christ in the world, we are called to not only welcome all to God’s table, but to love all of God’s children. As a community of love, our diocese remains committed to creating and sustaining the beloved community as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called us to more than fifty years ago, and we express our love and support for our Asian brothers and sisters by standing in solidarity with them during these troubling times and beyond.
The politically motivated darkness perpetrated on our country on the Feast of the Epiphany, no less, must never be confused with anything to do with the ministry and commission of Jesus Christ to all the baptized.
SLYC continues to operate amid the pandemic, providing support to youth and families. Recently they launched “Words From Within” – a six-episode podcast featuring families who come together to share their stories through performance poetry. Their tales and poetry are full of struggle and pain, the triumph of everyday survival, and the strength of family bonds.
If you missed our Annual Trail of Souls Event, please take time to watch. We heard from Keenan Keller, Senior Counsel of the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary who has done extensive work on bill HR 40, and from from Baltimore native Kondwani Fidel to discuss his book The Antiracist: How to Start the Conversation about Race and Take Action.