Way back before the pandemic, St. Stephen’s began its work on racial reconciliation by engaging in reading and discussing the 1619 Project which was published by the New York Times. This provocative series allowed our parish to broaden and deepen our awareness of America’ history and our own.
When the pandemic hit, this work continued in two small groups which met on Zoom to read and discuss the impact of racism and race on our identities and faith. Moving from Ibrahim Kendi to Howard Thurman to Willie Jennings to the Episcopal Church’s Sacred Ground curriculum, about a baker’s dozen of us have been shaped by this deliberate, personal, and sometimes painful work of internal change.
The rhythm of spiritual transformation is never one-dimensional. Changes in being result in changes to doing. Action also impacts contemplation.
As Lent approaches some of these participants are now ready to act on what they have learned and they are inviting you to join in the process. As St. Stephen’s is exploring mission real estate development through the Gift of Place program with Trinity Wall Street, our parish will be diving into our place, the gift of Montrose. Throughout Lent on Wednesday evenings on Zoom, we will be engaged in researching the history of deed restrictions and covenants in Montrose to determine what elements of racial discrimination remain in them. On Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. in the Havens Center and on Zoom, we will be listening to your stories and suggestions and sharing what we are discovering and how it may inform our actions.
The goal is to learn our history–both of discrimination and inclusion–and to engage our neighbors in conversation and to reveal where we are today. Depending on what we find, our parish may then help lead the process of rectification, as many other communities throughout the country are doing now.
Faith is always about the Spirit’s movement of creating us and the consequences emerging in action in the world. Lent is a time to be intentionally cultivating that process.
The Reverend Lisa Hunt, Rector