The Episcopal Church’s Becoming Beloved Community vision frames a path for Episcopalians to address racial injustice and grow as a community of reconcilers, justice-makers and healers who share a passion for living into their calling from God. This work is not only foundational to our baptismal covenant, but evidence of this call exists throughout the Bible. Consider Romans 12: 2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The post-General Convention inaugural meeting of the Diocese of Southern Becoming Beloved Community Task Force opened August 4 with an opportunity for all in attendance to share their visions of our journey toward Becoming Beloved Community. Members responded to a guiding question presented by the Rev. Canon Jane Gerdsen, Missioner for Fresh Expressions and Praxis Communities. Taking Jesus’ mandate and TEC’s vision into account, participants were asked: “What kind of Becoming Beloved Community are you hoping to create? Individual responses to the question were documented and compiled to develop the task force’s vision and call:
Becoming Beloved Community requires that we heal the wounds by cleaning them…this means telling the truth – the truth of the history of our churches, communities and institutional racism, and by doing the work of truth and reconciliation. Becoming Beloved Communities are places of practice based in love and expressed through the cycle of listening-learning-practicing-growing. Becoming Beloved Community is nana’s house – a place where there are no mirrors that remind us where we have been assigned and a place where we can be authentic, where we belong and are loved. Becoming Beloved Community is a place where we are challenged to live into God’s image and we do this with God’s help. As we work to make the familiar strange, know that *circumstances may call on you to risk standing alone, risk even perhaps your career, religion, relationships, or stature. But when circumstances call on one to risk career, religion, relationships, stature, or life in favor of Christian principles, you and this country will be better for it. You can go elsewhere for a job, relationship, or stature, but you cannot go elsewhere for a soul.
(*Adapted from Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s 2018 Harvard Law School Commencement address)
Cherie Bridges Patrick serves as Co-Convener of the Becoming Beloved Community Task Force and is a member of St. Matthew’s, Westerville. Connect with Cherie at email@example.com.