All of us in our congregation have been facing and struggling with the racial injustice in our society; some of us targeted by it directly, others looking for ways to help those who have been harmed or begin the process of atonement and accountability. Our diocese provided some excellent information and resources this week, and we wanted to pass them along to you.
Black Excellence Spiritual Collective
In August, the University Episcopal Community (UEC) received a small grant to engage with the work of healing and justice following the murder of George Floyd. As a first step, UEC connected with Rev. Louis Tillman to begin conversations with Black young adults ages 18-26 around what was on their hearts and minds. Many of those adults reached out to Louis again after the April 11th killing of Daunte Wright. In his conversations, Louis identified four crises weighing on Black young adults:
- Theological Identity: Where is God in all of this? Where is the church in all of this? Why does God allow this to happen to people like me?
- Spiritual Distress: Why can’t I believe/trust the justice system? Why should I trust the church or any religious person?
- Metaphysical Injury: What can I do in my community? Why did I go to the protests this week? Why didn’t I go to the protests this week? Is it a crime, to fight, for what is mine?
- Historical Trauma: I’ve been through this story before, but why is it still happening? When will things ever change?
These conversations led Louis to start Black Excellence Spiritual Collective (BESC), which has been holding events over zoom and offering pastoral support and spiritual direction for the young adults who connected with Louis. BESC looks forward to seeing where the Holy Spirit leads it in the coming months and years: Towards a worshipping community? Towards supporting mentorship and spiritual direction? Towards a retreat series? Towards advocacy for social change?
Louis asks: “In this season of COVID-19, I’m curious if the Episcopal Church in Minnesota is being called to do something bold and daring—but DIFFERENT than the normal when addressing racial justice? Will you pray for us? Will you support us? Will you work to make sure that Black Excellence Spiritual Collective has the human and financial resources to continue showing up alongside Black young adults? Will you support BESC in enabling healing from trauma, seeking justice, and living courageous and joyful lives?”
BESC is part of the University Episcopal Community’s network of ministries–which also include a worshiping community, a regional small group facilitation network, an emerging Latino mentorship program and an intentional community house. Support BESC with a financial gift here. To learn more and get involved, fill in this form.
A litany is a series of petitions to God. We encourage you to read, and to pray:
- Litany in Times of Uncertainty from the Rt. Rev. Deon K. Johnson, Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri.
- Litany Against Minnesota’s Sins of Racism. Please feel free to update this prayer to include the names of victims of racial violence that we have learned since the diocese last shared this litany in May of 2020.
Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing
As St. John’s continues to engage with dismantling racism and finding a path to racial healing, please consider engaging with the excellent workshops and town halls of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, based in Atlanta and led by Dr. Catherine Meeks. Check them out and join their mailing list!
From Hurt to Healing: An Intergenerational Activity Book
How do we move from hurt to healing? The murder of George Floyd and the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic brought together young people and elders in a three-month Zoom conversation focused on healing from trauma. The activity book is the result of these conversations. There are coloring pages with blocks of texts and inspirational quotations from elders sharing their wisdom and experiences for moving from hurt to healing. There are also beautifully hand drawn coloring pages of breathing tools with directions and other healing practices such as humming, hair braiding, and dancing. The book includes word searches and writing prompts that encourage intergenerational dialogue. The wisdom of the St. Paul Rondo community is represented by coloring pages of the Selby Avenue Jazz Fest, Rondo Days, and other local festivals. From Hurt to Healing is designed for the healing of elders through toddlers. Find it here.