St James’s Church in the Jim Crow Era (1896 -1960) Anne S. Hayes - May…
Our New Monthly update for Becoming Beloved Community
Becoming Beloved Community is an active and vital ministry here at St. James’s that inspires us to look at our history–the church’s, the region’s and the nation’s–through the lens of race. It is a ministry that has been supported by the Episcopal Church since 1952 and has flourished here at St. James’s, especially in the last few years.
Our Mission Statement
Following the commandment of Jesus Christ to love our neighbors as ourselves, and living into our Baptismal Covenant to respect the dignity of every human being, Becoming Beloved Community works to promote racial reconciliation, justice, healing, understanding, and forgiveness within our parish and the communities where we live and serve.
In the summer of 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, many St. Jamesers reached out to John and me, feeling the injustice and the need for spiritual growth and understanding towards all children of God, regardless of race or ethnic background. This led to a group forming to discern what we could do. And so this ministry began as a grassroots effort. Initially we called ourselves the Racial Justice and Reconciliation ministry; but as time went on, we adopted the Episcopal Church’s name for their national ministry, Becoming Beloved Community.
Actually, the groundwork for this ministry had been laid for some years. As early as 1952, the Episcopal Church’s General Convention passed the “Resolution on Racial Discrimination,” which stated, “We consistently oppose and combat discrimination based on color or race in every form, both within the Church and without, in this country and internationally.”
It took until 2015 for the General Convention to put meat on these bones. That year a resolution entitled “Response to Systemic Injustice “ was passed, charging the Church leadership to “lead, direct, and be present to assure and account for the Church’s work of racial justice and reconciliation,” and allocating $2 million towards the endeavor. From that resolution was born the Becoming Beloved Community ministry in 2017. Its grounding in the Gospel and traditions of the Church, its vision and mission can be found in detail at www.episcopalchurch.org/beloved-community/ and in this summary. The ministry is a spiritual journey for the Church that will not be a straight pilgrimage, but a winding path orbiting Jesus Christ.
Our Invitation to You
Here at St. James’s, our BBC ministry has sponsored two sessions of the powerful small group curriculum, Sacred Ground, and is set to start its third round in November. Our BBC ministry is also behind our lay-led research project of St. James’s role in historical trends of race, racism and white supremacy — the good, the bad, and everything in between.
We invite you to participate with us in this important work – at whatever level you desire, whether you join the team, engage in some of our activities, or just observe. For example, you can join by Zoom in our Wednesday night programs. This Wednesday, November 10, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. our History team will present its latest chapter of historical findings, covering 1865-1900. Register for the Zoom link here, or contact Alice Tousignant if you’d like to contribute to the research and writing (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We also invite you to connect with other St. Jamesers through the eye-opening and deeply spiritual Sacred Ground curriculum. We still have openings in our Thursday, 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. small group (register here).
Look for this column each month for updates on this ministry and opportunities to get involved.