Racial Justice & Healing Next Steps
Yesterday we commemorated the death of George Floyd and the past year of renewed calls for true racial reconciliation. Together with Episcopalians from around the country, we prayed and sang a Commemoration of George Floyd. If you'd like to watch that service, you can find it here.
One of the ways that I have chosen to mark this profound anniversary is by financially contributing to the work of the George Floyd Global Memorial. As we undertake the work of racial justice and healing, it is critical that we listen to, center the voices and experiences of, and follow the leadership of those most profoundly affected by systemic racism. I can think of no better voices to listen to than those who have, with the Spirit’s help, created and held a transformative sacred space at the site of George Floyd’s murder. I urge you to learn more about the George Floyd Global Memorial, and to contribute as you are able to this holy work.
From this vantage point, a year after George Floyd’s death, I’d like to look forward and share with you three of the ways that we, as the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, will be joining God’s work of racial justice and healing in this next season of our life together.
Building Racial Justice Formation for ECMN
Under the guidance of Heidi Kim and Dr. Catherine Meeks, a diverse group from across ECMN will come together to develop formation that is specific to Minnesota, to our neighborhoods, and to the history of the Episcopal church in the state.
It is my hope and expectation that every member of ECMN will engage with this formation, beginning with grounding ourselves in the understanding that answering God’s call for racial justice is core to our faith and core to the way of Jesus.
If you are eager to begin this work now, or if you would like to go deeper, I cannot recommend highly enough the School for Formation's course Building Bridges Across Culture and Race (scroll down to find that course information).
Community Art as Healing
Over the summer, the Rev. Canon Robert Two Bulls will pilot a community art project that will engage faith communities around the state in collective discernment about what words, phrases, and symbols hold significance when they imagine what racial justice and healing might look like. We’re excited to share more details as they become available, and to share the artwork that results from this project. Eventually, we anticipate that that project will include everyone in ECMN.
Racial Justice and Healing Conversation Series
Starting in June and lasting until ECMN Convention in November, we will be hosting a conversation series with prominent leaders and thinkers on racism, racialized experiences, and racial justice. This conversation series is intended not only to provide information, but to engage our diverse body in opportunities to deeply listen to one another, to engage in dialogue, and to reflect together.
Looking Farther Out
These three programs are only the beginning of our work together to bring about God’s dream of the Beloved Community. Modeling ourselves after The Episcopal Church, the team of Missioners and I intend, in due time, to undertake a racial audit to understand where racism lives in our structures and systems and to build a plan for how to dismantle that racism and build more just and equitable systems. I further intend to work with the elected bodies to prayerfully consider the resources we have been entrusted with and how they can be used to further racial justice and healing in Minnesota. We will also work closely with the Minnesota Council of Churches as they undertake their transformative, ten-year Truth and Reparations project. Learn more about that project here.
As I continue to engage in this discernment with all of you across ECMN, I will provide updates and spaces for listening and dialogue. None of us is called to do this work alone. I am so grateful to each of you for the ways I see you wrestling with this profoundly important call, finding creative answers, courageously sharing your truth, and bravely learning old stories for the first time. To paraphrase our Presiding Bishop, in God’s kingdom, there’s plenty good room for all God’s children, and our most important work is to ensure that everyone is welcomed in.
In God's Truth,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya
Episcopal Church in Minnesota