Of Regathering and Respecting the Dignity of Every Human Being

Celebrant: Will you strive for justice and peace among allpeople, and respect the dignity of every human being?People I will, with God’s help. (from the Baptismal Covenant, BCP p 305)

Dear St. Thomas Community,

At our vestry meeting this past Tuesday, your vestry and I spent a good deal of time going over and discussing our plans for regathering for worship in our building. There is much work to do to begin the resumption of something like typical worship. You will be hearing about those steps and the procedures for gathering soon.

In addition to that conversation, I told the vestry that we cannot afford to focus our attentions so fully on regathering that we give short shrift to the important and urgent opportunities before us as the Body of Christ in the world.

To that end I told the leadership that in addition to our work at worship I intend to keep issues of justice and mercy before us and we continue to serve the Chesapeake community. To that end I offer you this survey from the Barna Group.
This Faith and Race Check In (click the link at left to look at and/or take the survey) as a beginning to what I pray will be an honest, gracious and sustained conversation on this most pressing of issues in our country today. The survey will be live through next Saturday morning.

Dr. Martin Luther King called 11 am on Sunday the most segregated hour in America, In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail Dr. King called the leaders of the white churches in Alabama to get off the sidelines and enter the struggle for Civil Rights as a matter of faith, not of partisan politics. We have made advances in breaking down the walls of segregation in the church but we are not finished. Examining the complicity of our most dearly loved institutions in the ongoing marginalization of any group of people is a central part of the work of the church. Only by reflecting on and articulating an accurate understanding of our history will enable us to break free of the invisible hold it can have on us.

As a first step in examining issues of race in the church our first action is to listen and reflect on our experiences and those of our brothers and sisters who face challenges different from those that ours. I hope and pray that we will, as a persons and as a community, take a look at the difficult history that we have inherited and have the courage and trust in one another to look for a more excellent way of being the people of God in this place and at this time.

In Christ,
Fr. Warren +