On June 17, 2015, nine human beings were shot and killed by a young white man in an act of hate while they gathered in Christian community at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., to worship God. Those nine people were the Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney, 41; Susie Jackson, 87; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Ethel Lance, 70; Myra Thompson, 59; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49; The Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; and Tywanza Sanders, 26.
This tragedy occurred days before a planned summer adult forum series was to begin based around the study and discussion of James Cone's The Cross and the Lynching Tree. This forum series was inspired by Diocesan Bishop Shannon Johnston's call for dialogue and actions to advance racial reconciliation and the work of the Diocese of Virginia's Committee on Race and Reconciliation. The response to this forum was overwhelming and shared views, concerns and aspirations were inspiring in their vulnerability. St. Georgians formed the Racial Reconciliation Ministry to address the palpable energy and desire to continue this difficult work after the conclusion of our summer forum.
PHASE ONE GOALS
The Racial Reconciliation Ministry has the following Phase I Goals:
1. To organize the Ministry's structure and work
2. To offer supplemental knowledge, deepen our insight, and assess the current culture at St. George's.
3. To identify and rank the opportunities for the Ministry's active involvement in racial reconciliation efforts and the pursuit of social justice.
The work done by the Ministry during this phase will offer resources and opportunities for action to the larger parish and will culminate in our offering specific recommendations for actions and efforts to be undertaken in the future by the Ministry and members of St. George's. These recommendations will be submitted to both clergy and lay leaders for approval. We expect Phase II to begin after Christmas.
If you feel a call to this work or have questions or recommendations, please contact Lyn Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These resources are meant to invite deeper reflection and to spark discussion. This page is a work in progress, so please come back often to check for additions and updates.
THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF VIRGINIA'S
HAND IN HAND LISTENING SESSIONS
In his pastoral address to Annual Council, the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston announced a new racial reconciliation initiative for 2015:
“Surely, as communities of faith we as a diocese are especially suited, and divinely charged, to be facilitators of reconciliation, both within our own walls and in the broader community. Therefore, I am now announcing a major initiative for this year of 2015 that will focus on gaining a better understanding of rising racial tensions. We will begin this effort by holding a series of listening sessions in the mid-year around our diocese. These sessions will be the same Indaba style gatherings that were so successfully used here a few years ago to address tensions and divisions regarding the Church’s ministry in the quickly evolving matter of human sexuality. Indaba listening sessions involve no debate, no cross-talk, but rather give every person present the opportunity to speak their hearts and minds in a safe, non-reactive environment.”
Get more information about the Hand-In-Hand listening sessions and find plentiful resources on these issues here.
WEBSITES WE RECOMMEND
Article: Rethinking How We Teach About Slavery, Alan Singer (need description)
Article: “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Sermon by the Very Rev. Shearon Sykes Williams: "Charleston and Being the Church"
Trinity Institute: Listen for a Change, An Annual Theological Conference (January 21-23, 2016, NYC)
If you have something that you feel might be a good addition to this page, please email Crystal Hardin at email@example.com.
The Lunch Date
This Oscar-winning short film (1989) tells the story of a wealthy white woman whose goal is to catch a train. The story is simple and done with very little dialogue. As the woman hurries toward her train, misses her train, and deals with the aftermath, viewers discover much about her character, including her relationship with the many homeless people in the station and with an African-American man who bumps into her and causes her purse to fall to the ground. “The Lunch Date” offers an opportunity to discuss fear of difference, race, social class and status, and the power of unexamined privilege. (Center for Civic Reflection)
More information and sample discussion questions can be found at the Center for Civic Reflection.
BOOKS WE RECOMMEND
The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (race issues in America through the eyes of a Nigerian)
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (identity, racism and the American dream)
Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
Witnessing Whiteness by Shelly Tochluk
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God and The Black Christ, both by Kelly Brown Douglas
White Privilege and Black Rights by Naomi Zack
Dear White Christians: for those still longing for racial reconciliation by Jennifer Harvey
Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
An Ethic of Resistance by Reggie L. Williams
Christology & Whiteness: What would Jesus Do? edited by George Yancy White Women's Christ and Black Women's Jesus by Jacquelyn Grant
Making Whiteness by Grace Hale
Race and Reunion by David Blight
Grace Matters by Chris Rice
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Black Religion and Black Radicalism by Gayraud Wilmore
Yet with a Steady Beat (about blacks and attempts to gain recognition in TEC) by Harold T. Lewis
Challenges on the Emmaus Road: Episcopal Bishops confront Slavery, Civil War and Emancipation by T. Felder Dorn
Black Reconstruction (or anything by) WEB DuBois
Dogged Strength Within the Veil by Josiah Ulysses Young III
Plantations and Death Camps by Beverly E. Mitchell
IDA: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching by Paula J. Giddings
Worse than Slavery by David M. Oshinsky
The Shadow of Slavery by Pete R. Daniel
King and Civil Rights series by Taylor Branch.
A Knock at Midnight - sermons of Martin Luther King
What's the What? by Dave Eggers (an autobiography of Achak Deng, a Sudanese immigrant)
The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers (a novel that runs from Marianne Anderson’s concert to the Million Man March)
Color Blind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equality by Tim Wise