Hello St. Paul’s,
A little over a year ago we embarked on a communal journey to educate ourselves about the scourge of racism and its enduring effect on the people and institutions of the United States. Over 100 people signed up for the Lenten study based on “Waking Up White” by Debby Irving. Seeing how much energy was being stirred up, our next step was to launch the Sacred Ground curriculum, with nine small group circles meeting once a month for ten months. Now that season is coming to a close, with most of the groups preparing for session nine. Once again the question is “What’s next?” And, now that we have learned and grown together, “So What?” What will be our response to what we have learned? How will we turn our learning into action? How can we participate in societal transformation? Now that our eyes have been opened and our hearts broken, we cannot simply “check the box” and go on with our lives as if nothing had changed. We have been changed. How do we move ourselves, our community, and the world towards God’s dream of the beloved community?
Our Sacred Ground facilitators’ group is currently pondering a number of action-based next steps, to be developed under the umbrella title of “Sacred Ground in Action.” As each circle concludes their work they will consider what actions might be appropriate as a concrete sign of our continuing commitment to dismantling systemic racism. Those actions might be politically oriented, such as “get out the vote” efforts. They might be personal, where we make an individual commitment to engage in a difficult conversation with someone close to us. They might mean joining a board or an advocacy organization, or supporting a local, minority-owned business instead of a mega-corporation.
As an easy first step, I invite you, whether or not you have been involved in Sacred Ground, to make a donation to the Cathedral, to enable us to purchase copies of the Episcopal Church’s hymnal of African American and Gospel-style worship songs, Lift Every Voice and Sing (LEVAS). Including songs from this hymnal in our worship sends a message about our willingness to broaden the inclusivity of our liturgical practice, and by singing these songs regularly we become more familiar with the emotional and spiritual ethos of the Black church tradition. We are requesting a donation of $25 for each copy, and you can make the donation online through Realm or write a check to the cathedral, marking it “LEVAS”. I hope you will consider donating more than one copy. Thank you for your generosity.
Watch for a special letter from me before Sunday giving you more information about our in-person Sunday worship, as we continue to emerge from our pandemic isolation.
See you on Sunday!
Your sister in Christ,