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Reparations as a Spiritual Practice

Conceptualizing Significant and Ongoing Commitments to Reparations

As you have heard, during this Black Wealth Builder’s Campaign, we are inviting you to join us in making meaningful reparations together as the Epworth community by making a significant and/or ongoing contribution to the Black Wealth Builder’s Fund.

Through our activities in the past five weeks, we have mirrored in a short amount of time the journey that our Reparations Action Group has travelled over several years. (Some of our members have been there from the beginning. Others have travelled with us for the amount of time that was right for them. We also want to acknowledge the lived experience of racism that a number of our Epworth congregants know intimately.)

Our first activity last month was the Racial Wealth Gap Simulation. We looked more deeply into the cumulative harm to Black Americans caused by policies which particularly discriminated against them. (This mirrored the first few years of our group, we faced the truth of discrimination and violence to Black Americans on many levels, and looked deeply into the pain this harm caused.) The question then arises, how can we repair the harm? Last year, our group embarked on a 5-month study of reparations. The film some of us saw a few weeks ago called “The Big Payback” addresses the question of what reparations are owed, and illustrates one journey to incorporate reparations into a governmental city budget. And now we are asking ourselves specifically what is ours to do in relation to one aspect of repair, contributing to the Black Wealth Builder’s Fund.

We invite you to engage reparations as a spiritual practice by incorporating it into your prayer life, studying of scripture, participating in small groups, through giving, in serving others, by working for justice, and witnessing to others.

Ongoing Commitments & Next Steps

We encourage you to financially support the ministries of Epworth through your tithes and offerings AND supporting the Black Wealth Builder’s Fund in a significant and/or ongoing way:

SEED FUNDING: One-time contributions received by 12/31/2023 Goal: $20,000

SUSTAINING SUPPORT: Contributions to be given in 2024 Goal: $40,000

(A family typically receives up to $20,000 per loan from the Black Wealth Builder’s Fund)

Step 1: Prayer & Personal Discernment

In round table conversations, Epworth members considered the following questions:

● Has privilege benefitted your financial situation? Elaborate, please.

● Has generational wealth contributed to your financial situation? Elaborate, please.

● What does it mean/what would it mean to have reparations as a spiritual practice?

● What does it mean personally to make an ongoing commitment to reparations?

Here are a few examples of what a significant, ongoing commitment might look like for you:

● A percentage of your annual household income, above and beyond your 2024 tithe/commitment

● The amount of one month’s mortgage payment / A 13th mortgage payment directed to the fund

● A portion of the amount of the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) of your retirement account

● A percentage of dividends/earnings on investments or capital gains

As you continue in discernment, please let us know how we can support you.

The Reparations Action Group continues to meet monthly on the second wednesdays a

Step 2: Return your Commitment Card by Commitment Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023!

Step 3: There are a number of ways to fulfill your commitment and financially support Epworth’s ministries:

Online giving is a convenient and secure way to make a one-time contribution or set up a recurring contribution to Epworth’s General Operating Budget (tithes/offerings) and the Black Wealth Builder’s Fund.

Check or cash. Make your check payable to Epworth United Methodist Church. Please indicate in the memo line (or on the offering envelope for cash contributions) the amount to be directed towards Tithes/Offerings and any amount to be directed to the Black Wealth Builder's Fund.


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