“Until Justice Just Is.” This is a phrase I learned today, and it seems to describe this past week for me; what I have done, what I have left undone and what I am praying for day by day. Here is a brief summary:
Monday: The Episcopal Church publicly released a 72-page report titled: Racial Justice Audit of Episcopal Leadership. The report assesses the racial makeup and perceptions of a broad sampling of the church’s leadership summarizing how race influences internal church culture. The 72-page report, nearly three years in the making, clearly identifies 9 dominant patterns of racism. More than 1,300 people completed surveys offered to 5 leadership groups: the House of Bishops, the House of Deputies, Executive Council, churchwide staff members and leaders from 28 dioceses. In short, it is a report unlike any I have ever seen in our denomination and one that I hope is enculturated into many aspects of our common life helping us face into the sin of racism. (Full Report here; Executive Summary here.)
Tuesday: We all held our collective breathe as we waited to hear the verdict in former police officer Derek Chauvin’s case. And then, shortly after the verdict of guilty on all three counts, including murder, for the killing of George Floyd last May we started watching and reading a wide range of reactions to the verdict. I have heard and read a range of responses and all of it has left me with a heavy heart. And yes, while it was a moment of accountability and an historic reckoning confronting the perpetuation of disproportionate violence on our BIPOC siblings, we must not be lulled into thinking anything in the system has yet changed.
Wednesday: I attended a virtual book launch event for The Church Cracked Open: Disruption, Decline, and New Hope for Beloved Community by Stephanie Spellers. I have known Stephanie for years and she now serves on the Presiding Bishop’s staff as Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation. Her brand-new book challenges our Episcopal denomination to face into the harsh reality of our history steeped in White supremacy imploring us to come face to face with who we have been in order to be cracked open and then courageous enough to write new stories. She implores us to move together towards deep reckoning, then reconciliation and all while truly following the radical teachings of Jesus leading to Becoming Beloved Community.
Thursday & Friday: I attended portions of a 2-day virtual conference offered by the YWCA of Northwest Ohio: Stand Against Racism Conference. The specific focus of this year’s conference was a broad and deep discussion of the impediments that Black families and children face today as well as a review of effective strategies to address many of the challenges. The keynote speakers were as excellent as they were passionate about the work they have engaged and inspired. Both Dr. Barbara Love and Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu are educators, authors, and activists who have dedicated their lives’ work to exposing and eradicating the systems and racist underpinnings of our culture.
It was during this 2-day training that I first read the phrase “Until Justice Just Is.” At the end of the first day of the conference, participants were encouraged to go to the YWCA site and consider taking the pledge by that title. I will share the words of this pledge at the end of this post and ask everyone in our community to consider joining me. Following the pledge is the link to the YWCA site asking for your name if you are willing to say yes. It is for me, a pledge that aligns perfectly with 2 of our 5 baptismal promises; first to seek and serve Christ in all persons loving our neighbor as ourselves, and then to strive for justice and peace among all people respecting the dignity of every human being.
At the end of this long week both, these baptismal promises and this pledge, help me reaffirm the daily commitment I make to do all that I can to be a part of the changes we must still usher in – both in our church and in the world. And to do so all “with God’s help” day after day after day.
Come home this Sunday to Trinity@Home as we stay connected while still distanced. We have so much work to do together to realize Beloved Community; to embrace our painful past and move into a reconciled future where racial justice is not just a longing but a palpable reality.
Thank you to all who are helping us discern how this time of being cracked open might transform us in new and exciting ways in the months and years to come. I can’t imagine a better place or people to walk this road with until justice just is.
May you never forget that you are loved,
Until Justice Just Is…
I won’t stop until my country is free for ALL.
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That all people are created equal
and born with certain unalienable rights,
including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, regardless of who they love, how they identify, where they come from, or the color of their skin.
But all too often, that truth is forgotten.
All too often, those rights are ignored.
As all too many stand in silence,
And all too many suffer alone.
That’s why we pledge to come together
And commit to act for the greater good.
Until the land of the free is free of racism.
Until the home of the brave is brave enough to change.
Until “by the people” and “for the people”
Means doing right by all the people.
Until Justice just is.