Why Do We Need This Commission?
The Episcopal Church 78th General Convention proclaimed that after passing 30 resolutions over a period of 60-plus years the “abomination and sin of racism continue to plague our society and our Church at great cost of human life and human dignity. The General Convention formally acknowledged our historic and contemporary participation in this evil. The convention affirmed “as a top priority of the Episcopal Church …the challenging and difficult work of racial reconciliation through prayer, teaching, engagement and ACTION.
In response to this call to action, the Episcopal Church established the vision of Becoming Beloved Community. The Beloved Community is the body within which all people can grow to love God and love the image of God that we find in our neighbors, in ourselves, and in creation. It is the biblically based ideal that orients the work of racial healing, reconciliation, and justice. It is an ideal where each person is committed to the other’s flourishing and to the flourishing of the whole.
In support of our National Church’s call to action Old Donation Vestry directed the formation a commission dedicated to help guide our church through the long, difficult, and challenging journey of participation in Becoming Beloved Community
MISSION: Prayerfully provide advocacy, leadership, awareness, education, oversight, and all other actions necessary to support Old Donation’s engagement in Becoming Beloved Community through the pursuit of racial justice, healing, and reconciliation.
VISION: Old Donation is widely recognized as:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12)
Becoming Beloved Community is a Godly ideal that orients the work of racial healing, reconciliation, and justice. Striving towards that ideal governs all actions undertaken by the commission.
We recognize that the road ahead is not ‘business as usual’. According to Presiding Bishop Curry: “we are becoming a new and re-formed church, the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement—individuals, small, gathered communities, and congregations whose way of life is the way of Jesus and His way of love.
We will promote awareness of and compliance with General Convention Resolution C019: to work for racial justice and reconciliation. We will take necessary actions to identify and combat systemic racism in our community and beyond
incorporating the four interrelated commitments of the Becoming Beloved Community in developing courses of action. The four commitments and their related Baptismal Promises are:
- Truth Telling about our Churches and Race: Persevere in resisting evil and whenever we fall into sin repent and return to the Lord
- Proclaiming the Dream of Beloved Community: Proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ
- Practicing Jesus’s Way of Healing Love: Seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves.
- Repairing the Breach in Society and Institutions: Strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.
We will create ongoing safe channels for dialogue and accountability between those who are targets of oppression and those who are advantaged by racist and oppressive systems.
We will develop multiple courses of actions and activities that can be simultaneously undertaken to assist our journey into Becoming Beloved Community.
We will seek and trust discernment, stories, and wisdom of communities of color and other underrepresented minorities and groups.
We will align our actions with materials provided by the National Episcopal Church and its Racial Reconciliation Team. Specifically:
- “Becoming Beloved Community, Where You Are”, Episcopal Church pamphlet
- “The Church Cracked Open: Disruption, Decline and New Hope for Beloved Community” by Canon Stephanie Spellers
- “Love is the Way” by Bishop Michael Curry
- “Walking the Way of Love” edited by Courtney Cowart, executive director of The Society for the Increase of Ministry
- “Becoming an Anti-Racist Church” by Joseph Brandt
We will continuously pray for guidance while undertaking the difficult work of dismantling racism and seeking justice.