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Discerning our commitments and actions toward truth and racial reckoning

Beloved Epworth Community,

Last Thursday night on Zoom, Dianne Rush Woods and I led a moving service of dedication and consecration of the pieces created to honor the lives of persons being lifted up in the Beyond February altar project who have died at the hands of police. There was a palpable sense of grief, but also a very present feeling of love as many persons who contributed a tribute said, “I fell in love with this person” as they described their life. The service was recorded on Zoom and will be posted to our website soon. Thank you to all who poured heart and soul into the process and coming together. May those we lifted up in name and the many unnamed rest in peace and rest in power.

It has been almost a year since George Floyd’s death. A process, led by Kim Hraca and myself, to make clear our congregational commitment to action and perseverance for racial justice is being envisioned. I want to encourage you to consider being a part of this process as described below by Kim Hraca:

You are invited to be a part of designing a congregational process of education and discernment on racial justice, culminating in a time of Holy Conferencing this Fall. This process could result in a congregational action or commitment statement for racial justice, similar to what we have as a Reconciling and Sanctuary congregation. 
Over the past year, catapulted by the murder of George Floyd, Epworth has been doing a deeper dive into truth-seeking and racial reckoning. This has come through a number of dimensions. Three groups were started. One group, “The Truth and Racial Reckoning Working Group,” has focused on understanding the racialized history of Epworth and the surrounding community, and grapples with what this legacy asks of us now. There is also an anti-racism media/reading group. There is an altar and art project entitled “Beyond February” in which Epworth members have contributed individual pieces to an art installation, a creative tribute to Black people of all ages who have died at the hands of the police. There has been an African-American Elders listening circle composed of Black Epworthian parishioners in conversation with Pastor Kristin. There have been two sermon series, one focusing on the Platform of the Movement for Black Lives, and one which began on MLK weekend entitled “Why We Can’t Wait.” There has also been a film series and a book study on I'm Black. I'm Christian. I'm Methodist.

And we also want to acknowledge any anti-racism work being done by Epworthians in the larger community as well.

Now is the time to bring the entire Epworth community together and further our deeper dive into our commitments and actions toward truth and racial reckoning. We have chosen a process of Holy Conferencing (based on the model we used to become a Sanctuary congregation) to engage the entire congregation in a several month period of education, engagement, and reflection coming this Fall. Please help us plan and envision this Holy Conferencing process!

Our first meeting will be Sunday June 6 from 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM on Zoom. And then we will meet on first and third Sundays through early September.

Please RSVP for the first meeting here, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or Kim with questions or ideas.

Grace and peace to you,

Pastor Kristin


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