In a letter to Grace members, the Rev. Wren Blessing, our priest, wrote words last week that resonated deeply with me and so many of us:
We grieve, listening to the voices of those who cry out in our nation’s streets because they cannot breathe. We grieve, hearing our neighbors describe pervasive racism and death-dealing violence that is not new, that has been woven into our ways of thinking and acting for generations. We grieve, recognizing profound racial disparity in systems that sustain life and bring health, and in our current COVID-19 infection rates.
It is hard to watch pain publicly expressed without turning away, and it is upsetting to name the ways our own actions contribute to others' pain. Now is a time to listen to the pain of our neighbors with humility and openness. Now is a time to listen with sustained, prayerful presence.
As Wren wrote in her letter, we are working with leaders and the Faith Formation Committee to create opportunities for dialogue, learning, and grieving racial injustice in our country. In the meanwhile, there's a need to connect with others to discuss and reflect together. Here are just a few resources. Thank you to you, our Grace community, for sharing some of these with us, and please add more:
- Join us for prayer and discussion: Please join us in Sunday worship as we sing and pray together. I encourage you too to join our midweek service and Bible Study to pray for our leaders, ourselves, our community and our country. I invite you to come to our Thursday book study on Eugene Cho's book, Thou Shalt Not be a Jerk, which coaxes us to ask the sometimes uncomfortable questions of what it means to be a Christian who wants change in a complicated, tense political climate. (Read more about these invitations on our website).
- Connect with Members of Your Community: I invite you to reach out to friends and fellow members of your community to ask questions and listen together to wise voices of people of color in our country and read their writing, like Ibram X. Kendi's article in the Atlantic. Set up a FaceTime call or free Zoom meeting. Ask others to read an article like this letter to white Christians, or this one on white privilege together and join you for a discussion afterward.
- Open Up Conversations with Kids: If you have children in your life, I invite you to explore this list of resources compiled by Epsicopal educator, Sharon Ely Pearson, for families to enter into the conversation on race and equity..
- Give: I invite you to give to our Outreach partners like Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Program, which works for justice in our community, and others. Explore robust resources like this, a resource for supporting Protesters and Racial Equity from the Diocese of Olympia. Or explore these invitations for channeling your anger into action.
- Read: I invite you read books like How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram Kendi, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, I'm Still Here by Austin Channing Brown, or White Fragility: Why It's So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism. Or read contemporary poetry and fiction by POC in magazines committed to "sharing the voices of Black creatives" like Cordella Magazine.
- Reflect: I invite you to journal about what challenges you in books like the ones above. Reflect on questions like these: What does anti-racist work look like for each person? Can we help each other discern and take action? What support do we need as we figure it all out?
- Pray: I invite you to pray. Consider using this litany for a community by Osheta Moore.
- Share: If you've come across great resources yourself, please share them by learning a comment on our blog.