In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and in keeping with our baptismal covenant, we join with others to study up, speak up, stand up, and show up in order to bring the Beloved Community closer to realization in our time and place.
Follow the Diocesan Commission for Beloved Community Facebook Page for new resources and to share your parish’s anti-racism events and activity.
The Rev. Dr. Nina Pooley & Mr. Eric LaForest
Who were the indigenous peoples who lived on the land where you live and worship now? Where you grew up? Use this handy tool to learn more about the native peoples anywhere in the Americas, and other places. Choose “Label” and zoom in to an area in your neighborhood.
This is a race dialogue series designed for these times. It is an attempt to be responsive to the profound challenges that currently exist in our society. It is focused on the challenges that swirl around issues of race and racism, as well as the difficult but respectful and transformative dialogue we need to have with each other about them. It invites participants to walk back through history in order to peel away the layers that brought us to today, and to do so in a personal way, reflecting on family histories and stories, as well as important narratives that shape the collective American story. It holds the vision of beloved community as a guiding star – where all people are honored and protected and nurtured as beloved children of God, where we weep at one another’s pain and seek one another’s flourishing. For more information, click here.
Passed at the 122nd Diocesan Convention:
Resolved: that the 122nd Convention of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts directs Diocesan Council and invites the congregations and institutions of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts including the Trustees of the diocesan endowment, and others -- in the name of repentance, reconciliation, and accountability to our siblings of color in our Diocese-- prayerfully and purposefully to explore their historic involvement in and present wealth derived from the forced labor of enslaved people, and to explore remedies including the distribution of funds from our unrestricted endowments and from our restricted endowments as may be permissible in acknowledgment of and repentance for the sin and legacy of slavery.
The Beloved Community Commission of the Diocese of Western MA invites all people and parishes in the diocese to read and discuss Howard Thurman’s 1949 classic, Jesus and the Disinherited in 2020.
A mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Thurman anticipated many of the themes of liberation theology, including Black Theology. But Thurman’s focus was not direct activism so much as cultivating a liberated spirit. The result is a short, inspiring work of pastoral theology.
Parishes could use Jesus and the Disinherited as the basis for one or more ZOOM conversations about Christian formation, spirituality, and racial justice. To prepare for these conversations, you may stream a 57 min. video about Thurman called “Backs Against the Wall”. Diocesan clergy watched this video together at the 2019 Clergy Conference.
Visit the Howard Thurman Virtual Listening Room in Boston University’s audio archive to hear hundreds of sermons and talks from 1951 to 1980 which are organized both by date and by subject. There are 12 talks recorded in Marsh Chapel 1958-59 comprising a 10 year retrospective of Jesus and the Disinherited that is not to be missed.
Completing Anti-Racism training is mandated by Episcopal Church Canon for those being ordained, required for those serving in church leadership roles, and necessary for laypersons to help eliminate the sin of racism in the world as we Become Beloved Community. Anti-racism training is something that many want to incorporate into their formation programs. But what should that training teach? What should it really accomplish? The Episcopal Church Executive Council Committee on Anti-Racism (ECCAR) has identified that there seems to be no consistency in the training that exists on anti-racism. Episcopal theology is missing. Base definitions of concepts such as race, white privilege, and chattel slavery are ill-defined or not defined at all. There is frequently little or no opportunity to practice techniques for dealing with tense situations stemming from racial discrimination or violence. For a pdf, please click here.
In 2016-2017, the Social Justice Commission of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts provided two 1-day introductory anti-racism trainings for postulants for Holy Orders, as well as lay leaders. In 2017 The Episcopal Church (TEC) reformed its anti-racism efforts to work toward racial justice through the lens of “Becoming Beloved Community.” In response, several members of the Social Justice Commission split off to form a separate dismantling racism group—the Beloved Community Commission. We are responsible for assisting clergy, clergy postulants, and lay members with the tools of TEC’s Becoming Beloved Community. One of the guiding tenets is that for each person, understanding and dismantling racism is a life-long activity, not the content and work of a single-day workshop. READ MORE
The Episcopal House of Bishops released the report from its Theology Committee titled “White Supremacy, the Beloved Community, and Learning to Listen” on Sept. 16, 2020.
“It is the Church’s responsibility to recognize and reckon with the problem of white supremacy,” the introduction reads, in part. “All Episcopalians but especially white Episcopalians must acknowledge the active and substantial role played by the institutional church, including the Anglican Communion, and The Episcopal Church, in constructing, maintaining, defending, and profiting from this monstrous sin and scandal.”
Click on the links in England and Spanish below. Also included is a link to a covenant.