Racial Justice & Reconciliation
It is our unity in Christ that powers the efforts of the Episcopal Church to continue its ongoing efforts to combat the sin of racism. Racism is an affliction that sickens us as a community and as individuals. It is still alive and well. We see the effects of racism reflected in all aspects of society. Through resolutions passed nationally and in North Carolina, The Episcopal Church has extolled a consistent message to its churches, clergy, and parishioners to educate themselves and to take action to eliminate racism wherever it exists— in our institutions, communities, churches and ourselves. Much progress has been made but there is still work to be done to achieve the biblical imperative of unity in Christ.
The Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee (RJRC) is the body responsible for identifying the needs and potential solutions pertaining to racial inequities and white supremacy in the Diocese and in our churches. Some of their recommended programs are highlighted below.
DIOCESAN ANTI-RACISM TRAINING
The RJRC recently updated, redesigned and renamed “Seeing the Face of God,” the previous diocesan anti-racism training program. A partnership among diocesan staff, the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee and notable consultants such as Dr. Catherine Meeks of the Absalom Jones Center in Atlanta, the new “Dismantling Racism: Reclaiming Our Baptismal Promise” is an interactive workshop designed to deepen spiritual commitment to dismantling racism as participants in the Jesus Movement. Through presentations, prayer, story sharing, videos and small group discussion, participants explore how the sin of racism impacts all lives.
See sidebar for upcoming sessions.
The youth department recently launched a youth version of Dismantling Racism.
BECOMING AN ANTI-RACIST CHURCH CURRICULUM
“Becoming an Anti-Racist Church” is a new mini-course designed to give participants a chance to review and unpack the concepts and vocabulary introduced in the two-day Racial Equity Institute (REI) Phase I anti-racism workshop. It has also been modified to allow participation from those who have not attended the REI training. The curriculum was developed and is offered by Episcopalians United Against Racism, a collaborative partnership that includes the diocesan Bishop’s Committee for Racial Justice and Reconciliation.
WEBINAR SERIES FEATURING DEBBY IRVING AND THE REV. WILLIAM BARBER
Registration is now open for the events shared below. "The Journey to Racial Equity: A Three-Part Series" consists of two webinars and a 21-day challenge. The schedule for the first round:
- Part 1: Jan. 11, "An Evening with Debby Irving," 7p.m. (webinar)
- Part 2: Jan. 17 - Feb. 6, 21-Day Habit Building Challeng
- Part 3: Feb. 9, "An Evening with the Rev. Dr. William Barber, II," 7p.m. (webinar)
Register for the webinars (you will need to register for each; the link for the Part Two 21-day challenge will be sent to those who register):
The Diocesan Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee (RJRC) presents a webinar by author Debby Irving in the first of a three-part anti-racism series. On Monday, January 11, at 7 pm, Irving, the well-known author of Waking Up White, will lead a webinar exploring her story of waking up to discover the racial divide in our nation. Register.
The second part of the series, the 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge, begins on Sunday, January 17. The challenge is designed to create dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege and leadership. Participants will receive daily challenges, such as reading an article, listening to a podcast or reflecting on personal experience.
Participation in an activity like this helps us to discover how racial and social injustice impact our communities, to connect with one another, and to identify ways to dismantle racism and other forms of discrimination. This is an exciting opportunity to dive deep into racial equity and social justice. To help participants reflect on what they discover, on January 17, 24 and 31, at the conclusion of each of each week of the challenge, the RJRC will host an hour-long Zoom conversation to connect with one another on the topics covered in the previous week and ways they affect our communities and even our churches. Details and registration are forthcoming.
The third part of the series will take place on February 9 at 7p.m., when the Bishop’s Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee will host a webinar featuring the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, the president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach. An author, preacher and professor, he is the chief architect of the “Forward Together Moral Movement.” A powerful preacher and ardent activist, Barber will speak about the theology of justice and the effects of racism in our communities. Register.
SUBSIDIES FOR REI TRAININGS
Racial Equity Institute (REI) Training provides an analysis of race and racism from a systems perspective. That is, it addresses racism not only from the standpoint of individual bias, but also by examining the historical roots of racism as it affects institutions—the church, education, health care, criminal justice, etc., and what effect that has on the opportunities that white people and people of color have. Although this is a secular training, people of faith are well-represented in each training, and conversations during the training address religious issues.
The Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee (RJRC) of the Diocese encourages each parish to have one or more members—clergy or lay—attend this training as a way to “seed” an understanding of racism from this perspective, and to have a common vocabulary and approach throughout the Diocese. To help defray the cost of the training, the Diocese, through the RJRC is offering subsidies to parishioners to attend.
GO SPEAK: RECONCILIATION EDITION
Recognizing our church’s priority to engage in acts of racial reconciliation, the Go Speak: Reconciliation Edition deck encourages individuals to share their own experiences with racism and white supremacy in groups as we respond to our Christian call “to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8)
JOIN THE COMMITTEE
The Diocese needs the help of all of its members to help eradicate the problem of racism in our diocese. We need passionate individuals who want to make a difference by helping the diocesan Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee embrace the just cause of eradicating racism. All ages and ethnicities are welcome to join the committees' efforts. Let Bishop Sam Rodman know that you are interested in being appointed to the committee.
If you cannot commit to being a member of the committee, consider signing on as a Friend of the Committee. You will receive information about all meetings and calls and will be able to participate as your schedule allows.
If you are interested in being listed as a Friend of the Committee, contact the co-chairs, DeDreana Freeman and Chris Coby. You can also engage in the committee's work by following them on Facebook.