Newly Formed: The Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission of The Episcopal Church in Delaware
On May 25, 2020, the world witnessed the murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement. This brutal event reawakened many to the ongoing reality of racism within individuals and systems.
In response to that tragedy, Bishop Brown created a think tank of laity and clergy. Their charge was to develop a sustainable structure that the Episcopal Church in Delaware (ECD) will use to address systemic racial injustice in our church and the larger society. The think tank based its work on Becoming Beloved Community, the Episcopal Church’s long-term commitment to racial healing, justice, and reconciliation.
Becoming Beloved Community is not a program, but rather a lifelong journey built upon four tenets, grounded in our baptism:
- Telling the Truth about the Church and Race;
- Proclaiming the Dream of Becoming Beloved Community;
- Practicing the Way of Love; and,
- Repairing the Breach in Society and Institutions.
The think tank returned to Bishop Brown with two strong recommendations: first, form a Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission (RJRC) to carry out this work; second, hire a missioner for racial justice and reconciliation, who will act as a liaison between the ECD and RJRC, and work alongside it to accomplish its goals.
The Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission has begun its work and meets monthly to consider its goals. It has met with the College of Clergy to assess the needs of diocesan parishes and other organizations in relation to racial justice and reconciliation, as well as with community partners engaged in similar efforts. With God’s help, the mission will be accomplished: to support the ECD in Becoming Beloved Community, one that is diverse; centered on following Jesus; and where every member is valued, celebrated, and honored.
To learn more about the RJRC, or to join in the mission, feel free to contact either of the co-chairs: the Rev. Chuck Weiss or Dr. Sheridan Quarless Kingsberry. Canon Casson, our Rector Emeritus, is a member of the Commission.
Statement from Bishop Brown
April 21, 2021
Beloved of God in Delaware,
Yesterday, April 20, 2021, a jury in Minneapolis convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was in police custody. The trial will be remembered as a landmark event in American legal history.
Sadly, achieving this just outcome is considered a major accomplishment for our judicial system, and it is. Indeed, this trial and its verdicts mark a moment of genuine progress toward fairness for all citizens and, yes, that is incredibly important. But, as is often the case, when we as a nation suddenly lurch forward we also see more clearly just how long the struggle ahead remains. As important as this one outcome is, let us not be deceived. This single action of progress does not mean courts everywhere have suddenly reformed themselves toward true justice and accountability. Our work remains.
Thankfully, in this work we are joined by our diocese’s newly-formed Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission. They, too, will issue a statement in the coming days. I look forward to it and to their witness, energy, and leadership for years to come.
St. Paul encouraged the faithful in Galatians 6 to bear one another’s burdens, fulfilling the law of Christ. That law of Christ is, as we well know, to love one another as we have been loved. Paul writes, “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all …”
Today, I call us to prayer. Please pray for Mr. Floyd and his family, and for all whose lives have been altered by this tragedy and violence of every kind. Pray for former officer Chauvin and all those who have perpetrated violence, that they may know a better way. Pray for justice, healing, and peace. My sisters and brothers, pray for us all.
Your brother in Christ,