The Anti-Racism Committee formed in July 2020, after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25, prompted a national reckoning on race. With God’s help, this committee aims to bring our congregation to a place of deeper understanding and rejection of the racism and white supremacy that pervade society today. In line with the national Episcopal Church, they have focused efforts in three areas - LEARN – PRAY – ACT, so that we may:
- Learn about the origins, persistent presence, and myriad harms of racism;
- Pray for healing, hope, strength, and peace; and
- Act for a more just, equitable community within St. Paul’s and beyond.
For LEARN, parishioners have participated in the Sacred Ground program, developed by the Episcopal Church. Groups of 10 meet to discuss documentary films and readings that focus on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American histories. The committee also hosts monthly anti-racism activities to discuss movies and books.
For PRAY, the committee developed a prayer for racial justice and reconciliation that has been incorporated into the Sunday morning services and encouraged for private prayer.
Our hope is that learning and praying will lead us further to ACT. Several members of the committee have participated in the Sunday afternoon Black Lives Matter demonstrations on the Natick Common.
Our Delegates to Convention and our rector, Rev. Becky Binns Gettel, were among the sponsors of a resolution asking the diocese to create a committee within the Episcopal Diocese to assist congregations with funds derived from the trade of enslaved peoples to make reparations using those funds. The resolution was passed at the annual diocesan convention in November 2020.
Sacred Ground is a film- and readings-based dialogue series on race, grounded in faith. Small groups, called Sacred Ground Circles, are invited to walk through chapters of America’s history of race and racism, while weaving in threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity.
The 10-part series is built around a powerful online curriculum of documentary films and readings that focus on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American histories.
Sacred Ground is part of Becoming Beloved Community, The Episcopal Church’s long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation, and justice in our personal lives, our ministries, and our society. This series is open to all, and especially designed to help white people talk with other white people. Participants are invited to peel away the layers that have contributed to the challenges and divides of the present day – all while grounded in our call to faith, hope and love.