The Church Awakens: an online exhibit

The Archives of the Episcopal Church announces an electronic publication and online exhibit entitled, The Church Awakens: African Americans and the Struggle for Justice. The multimedia exhibit, covers the period of enslavement to the present, with emphasis on the Civil Rights era.

Figures such as Absalom Jones, George Bragg, Pauli Murray, Jonathan Daniels, and Charles Lawrence are featured along with Church organizations such as the American Church Institute, the Conference of Church Workers, and the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity. Audio recordings include interviews with figures as diverse as Langston Hughes and Jackie Robinson.

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Dean Lind on News Hour tonight

The Very Rev. Tracey Lind, dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland, will take part in a panel discussion about race, religion and politics on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer tonight. The program is broadcast at 6 pm EDT; the panel discussion is expected to air about 6:30 pm.

The panel discussion, titled “Race, Religion and Politics,” is expected to discuss how issues of race and religion are intersecting with the 2008 presidential race.

Lind was also quoted in a March 23 New York Times story titled “Obama’s Talk Fuels Easter Sermons.”

For more information on Trinity Cathedral and its programs, please call 216-771-3630 or visit www.trinitycleveland.org.

Two speeches on race

Gary Wills has a very interesting comparison of two speeches on race by two men from Illinois running for President, Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln:

Two men, two speeches. The men, both lawyers, both from Illinois, were seeking the presidency, despite what seemed their crippling connection with extremists. Each was young by modern standards for a president. Abraham Lincoln had turned fifty-one just five days before delivering his speech. Barack Obama was forty-six when he gave his. Their political experience was mainly provincial, in the Illinois legislature for both of them, and they had received little exposure at the national level—two years in the House of Representatives for Lincoln, four years in the Senate for Obama. Yet each was seeking his party's nomination against a New York senator of longer standing and greater prior reputation—Lincoln against Senator William Seward, Obama against Senator Hillary Clinton. They were both known for having opposed an initially popular war—Lincoln against President Polk's Mexican War, raised on the basis of a fictitious provocation; Obama against President Bush's Iraq War, launched on false claims that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs and had made an alliance with Osama bin Laden.

Neither man fit the conventions of a statesman in his era. Lincoln, thin, gangling, and unkempt, was considered a backwoods rube, born in the frontier conditions of Kentucky, estranged from his father, limited to a catch-as-catch-can education. He was better known as a prairie raconteur than as a legal theorist or prose stylist. Obama, of mixed race and foreign upbringing, had barely known his father, and looked suspiciously "different."

The most damaging charge against each was an alleged connection with unpatriotic and potentially violent radicals. Lincoln's Republican Party was accused of supporting abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison, who burned the Constitution, or John Brown, who took arms against United States troops, or those who rejected the Supreme Court because of its Dred Scott decision. Obama was suspected of Muslim associations and of following the teachings of an inflammatory preacher who damned the United States. How to face such charges? Each decided to address them openly in a prominent national venue, well before their parties' nominating conventions—Lincoln at the Cooper Union in New York, Obama at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Read the rest here.

Commemorating Thurgood Marshall

In 2006, the Diocese of Washington asked the General Convention to include Thurgood Marshall in the book of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. The request was referred to a church commission, and will be reconsidered at the 2009 Convention

But those who support Marshall's cause can hold a Eucharist in his honor next month, perhaps on May 17, the date that the diocese proposes establishing as his feast. (and the anniversary of his victory in the landmark school desergregation case, Brown. v. Board of Education.

For background on the diocese's effort read these two stories from the Washington Window.

The resolution recommending Marshall's inclusion that was passed by the Convention of the Diocese of Washington, and a biography put together by St. Augustine's, Marshall home parish in Washington, D. C. are also available.

To find the propers of the day, and suggestions for hymns, click on read more.

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Exploring a shameful legacy

Stephan Salilsbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes:

Old Black Alice, who died in 1802 at the wondrous age of 116, remembered well lighting the pipe of William Penn, when the proprietor and slave owner needed a puff.

She remembered attending nascent Christ Church at a time when the nave ceiling was so low she could touch it with the tips of her weathered, slender fingers.

She remembered it all: working the boats of Dunk's Ferry to help white passengers across the river during the day. And working secretly at night to help fellow slaves disappear across the water to freedom.

When Alice died, she was mourned and eulogized as the keeper of the city's memory, a long-lived resident whose life was intertwined with the lives and deaths of the city, a teller of history who saw much and forgot little and passed it all down to eager and younger listeners.

Now Christ Church, where Alice was a parishioner for decade after decade (never attaining freedom herself, despite helping many achieve theirs), has decided to make her life and stories the centerpiece of a new effort to dramatize the city's early experience with slavery.

Read it all.

Mildred Loving dies

Mildred Loving, a black woman whose challenge to Virginia's ban on interracial marriage led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling striking down such laws nationwide, has died, her daughter said Monday. The AP's story is here. An essay on the signficance of Loving v. Virginia to the current conflict in the Anglican Communion is here.

See, also:

  • The Free Lance-Star.
  • NPR
  • Update: Rick Perlstein of the American Prospect points out that last year Loving came outin favor of same-sex marriage.

    How far we have come

    Colbert I. King, an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post, writes today about what he considers a remarkable week, imagining how mid-19th century Episcopal priest Alexander Crummell might view Obama's nomination. But that's perhaps the most visible development that would please Crummell, who, as an African American, founded two Episcopal parishes in the District of Columbia in the 19th century that continue to this day, nearly 150 years later.


    Crummell would have contrasted those achievements with his own life experiences.

    His enrollment at Noyes Academy in New Hampshire ended abruptly when a white mob, angered by his presence, dragged the school building into a swamp.

    Crummell would have recalled his own tortuous journey to the priesthood. The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church denied his application because he was black. Even after completing private studies with sympathetic clergy and being ordained as a priest by the Episcopal bishop of Delaware in 1844, Crummell wasn't accepted by many of his white clerical counterparts.

    Frustrated, Crummell took his family to London to raise money for a small church mission in New York and to spread the word about the abolitionist movement in America. While in England, he was given the financial means to attend Queen's College, where he acquired a theology degree. From London, Crummell sailed to Liberia and served as a missionary in West Africa for 20 years.

    More about this fascinating history--and outburst of optimism--is here.

    Maryland to consecrate its first African-American bishop

    From the Baltimore Sun:

    When the Rev. Canon Eugene T. Sutton was elected the 14th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, the first person he called was his 94-year-old grandmother, a devout Baptist who lives in a Washington nursing home. "Her prayers for me have made all the difference in the world," Sutton said.

    But more than that, he knew she could appreciate the twists of history that led to his election. Sutton, who will be consecrated tomorrow as the state's first African-American bishop, is the great-great-grandson of slaves. Maryland's first bishop, the Right Rev. Thomas John Claggett, was a slaveowner.

    "I'm immensely proud and humbled," Sutton said as he prepared for tomorrow's ceremony at Washington's National Cathedral, which will be attended by his grandmother, parents, wife, four children and stepchildren and thousands of others. "I'm proud because of the work of my ancestors of African heritage, who by the work of the hands and the sweat of their brows made it possible for me to be here today."

    Minns and his friends

    Read what Bishop Martyn Minns of the Church of Nigeria had to say at the Value Voters Summit last week. The speech was covered in World Magazine, which is edited by Marvin Olasky.

    Olasky's bio contains this illuminating section:

    Olasky has taught in the journalism department at the University of Texas at Austin since 1983, becoming a full professor in 1993. Midway through his term as associate professor, he came to the attention of Reconstructionist philanthropist Howard Ahmanson, Jr., who gave him the editorship of the Turning Point series of books via his charitable arm, the Fieldstead Institute. Olasky wrote its first installment, A Christian Worldview Declaration (1987), as well as the Capital Research Center series Patterns of Corporate Philanthropy.

    This initial work brought him to the attention of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which funded him as a two-year Bradley scholar at the The Heritage Foundation. His two 1988 books on the mass media, Prodigal Press: The Anti-Christian Bias of American News Media and The Press and Abortion, 1838-1988 outlined philosophies that harmonized with the Christian agenda of World magazine, of which he became editor in 1992. He was instrumental in that periodical's 1998 spawning of the World Journalism Institute, which seeks to recruit and train Christian journalists and inject them into the mainstream media.

    Minns said:

    “The real question we have had to face in the Episcopal Church... is how do we separate the values that are worth fighting for from those that are mere cultural preferences? And to what immutable standards do we appeal to make these decisions? These are not just questions for Episcopalians, or Anglicans in the rest of the world, but for all Christians everywhere.”

    One can agree with this statement and disagree with his personal choices. For instance, one can believe that homophobia is a cultural preference of Minns, his followers in this country, and the Nigerian archbishop Peter Akinola to whom he now owes his allegiance.

    Speaking of Akinola, one wonders what he would make of the Obama Waffles that were sold at the Value Voters Summit or the guys who created them.

    A landmark beginning

    A statement from the President of the House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson.

    The Episcopal Church spent two days in solemn observance and belated repentance for its involvement in the institution of transatlantic slavery last weekend. It was truly a landmark event.

    Although General Convention resolution A-123 named the site for the Service of Repentance as Washington National Cathedral, the event was held at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia. There was no public explanation offered regarding the change of venue named in the resolution. The welcome and hospitality from the clergy, staff and membership of St. Thomas’, however, set an example of the highest order for the whole of the Episcopal Church.

    The solemn observance event marked the commencement of a comprehensive program called for in resolution A-123 that asks every diocese to:

    • collect and document detailed information in its community on the complicity of The Episcopal Church in the institution of slavery;
    • collect and document detailed information in its community on the subsequent history of segregation and discrimination
    • collect and document detailed information in its community on the economic benefits The Episcopal Church derived from the institution of slavery

    It is my hope and expectation that every diocese in The Episcopal Church that participated at the 75th General Convention in Columbus, Ohio and voted in favor of resolution A-123, and has not already initiated this work in their diocese will begin now.

    Link to resolution A-123:
    http://www.episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/acts/acts_resolution.pl?resolution=2006-A123

    A landmark beginning

    A statement from the President of the House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson.

    The Episcopal Church spent two days in solemn observance and belated repentance for its involvement in the institution of transatlantic slavery last weekend. It was truly a landmark event.

    Although General Convention resolution A-123 named the site for the Service of Repentance as Washington National Cathedral, the event was held at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia. There was no public explanation offered regarding the change of venue named in the resolution. The welcome and hospitality from the clergy, staff and membership of St. Thomas’, however, set an example of the highest order for the whole of the Episcopal Church.

    The solemn observance event marked the commencement of a comprehensive program called for in resolution A-123 that asks every diocese to:

    • collect and document detailed information in its community on the complicity of The Episcopal Church in the institution of slavery;
    • collect and document detailed information in its community on the subsequent history of segregation and discrimination
    • collect and document detailed information in its community on the economic benefits The Episcopal Church derived from the institution of slavery

    It is my hope and expectation that every diocese in The Episcopal Church that participated at the 75th General Convention in Columbus, Ohio and voted in favor of resolution A-123, and has not already initiated this work in their diocese will begin now.

    Link to resolution A-123:
    http://www.episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/acts/acts_resolution.pl?resolution=2006-A123

    Jefferts Schori speaks on Pittsburgh, racism and more

    The Columbus Dispatch reports on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's visit to Trinity Episcopal Church--the site of her election as presiding bishop:

    On Saturday in Philadelphia, Jefferts Schori apologized for the Episcopal Church's role in perpetuating and profiting from slavery.

    There is a parallel between the historic oppression of black people and the challenges that gays and lesbians face, she said.

    "It's an age-old human struggle over who's an accepted member of the community," she said.

    Jefferts Schori's appearance at the National Cathedral's Sunday Forum is also online.

    Watch and listen to the Presiding Bishop's sermon at the Day of Repentance here.

    Racism on the wane?

    The Christian Science Monitor suggests that Barack Obama's viability as a presidential candidates indicates that racism may be on the wane in the United States.

    This Associated Press story suggests otherwise, contending that racial prejudice could cost Obama the election:

    Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles.

    Then there is this item from the superb polling blog fivethirtyeight.com
    which suggests the existence of racists for Obama.

    And finally, here is the take of a Jesse Jackson impersonator on the "Bradley Effect" via Saturday Night Live's new Thursday show.

    What do you think this election has shown us about the issue of race in American politics?

    A black president, the capacity of America to change

    Not unexpectedly, both candidates had something to say last night about the significance of the election of America's first black president.

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    Joy, joy, joy

    McCain, Obama and Bush have had their say on the significance of the election of the first black president. And, then, there is the joy of African-American voters:

    "The best part of my two-hour wait was when an elderly Black woman got dropped off at the polls," another voter, posting on Stereohyped.com, reported. "She had a walker, but pulled a polling judge to the side and asked her if they had wheelchairs. She hadn't been out of her bed in ages and was afraid she wouldn't be able to move to actually get inside the building. The polling judge told her that they didn't have any wheelchairs, and was at a loss at what to do. That's when five Black men got out of line to assist this woman, supporting her back, arms and legs, they carried her into the polling center. The crowd was so overwhelmed with the comraderie, that everyone started clapping."

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    For the deep South, there's no other explanation than race

    Comparison of how whites in deep South states voted appears to show that for in substantial number of whites Obama's race was the deciding factor in voting for McCain. This is in contrast to much of the rest of the country where the percentage of whites voting for the Democratic presidential candidate exceeded the percentage in 2004.

    New York Times:

    Southern counties that voted more heavily Republican this year than in 2004 tended to be poorer, less educated and whiter, a statistical analysis by The New York Times shows. Mr. Obama won in only 44 counties in the Appalachian belt, a stretch of 410 counties that runs from New York to Mississippi. Many of those counties, rural and isolated, have been less exposed to the diversity, educational achievement and economic progress experienced by more prosperous areas.
    ...
    “Race continues to play a major role in the state,” said Glenn Feldman, a historian at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. “Alabama, unfortunately, continues to remain shackled to the bonds of yesterday.”

    David Bositis, senior political analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, pointed out that the 18 percent share of whites that voted for Senator John Kerry in 2004 was almost cut in half for Mr. Obama.

    “There’s no other explanation than race,” he said.
    ...
    Don Dollar, the administrative assistant at City Hall, said bitterly that anyone not upset with Mr. Obama’s victory should seek religious forgiveness.

    “This is a community that’s supposed to be filled with a bunch of Christian folks,” he said. “If they’re not disappointed, they need to be at the altar.”
    ...
    “I am concerned,” Gail McDaniel, who owns a cosmetics business, said in the parking lot of the Shop and Save. “The abortion thing bothers me. Same-sex marriage.”

    “I think there are going to be outbreaks from blacks,” she added. “From where I’m from, this is going to give them the right to be more aggressive.”

    While not explicitly referring to a Southern strategy, David Brooks foresees a national Republican party that will go choose insularity over reform:

    ...this embattled-movement mythology provides a rationale for crushing dissent, purging deviationists and enforcing doctrinal purity. It has allowed the old leaders to define who is a true conservative and who is not. It has enabled them to maintain control of (an ever more rigid) movement.

    In short, the Republican Party will probably veer right in the years ahead, and suffer more defeats.

    At the same time, many pundits have said Obama was elected by a country which twice elected George Bush and the country is still essentially center-right, as witnessed by Prop 8 and Obama's calculated reluctance to make an unequivocal position on gay marriage or the second amendment.

    For more on racism, there's this:

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    "When white will embrace what is right"

    Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around . . .

    . . . when yellow will be mellow . . .

    . . . when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. Let all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

    With "do justice and love mercy" the Rev. Joe Lowery might have invited each of us to "walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).

    The Rev. Lowery stirred up something of a hornets nest in his inauguration day benediction with that line "when white will embrace what is right." The complaint seems to be that whites have broadly embraced the belief that blacks have suffered discrimination in the past, and want to do what is right by ensuring that no individual is treated differently by virtue of the color of their skin.

    Ta-Nehisi Coates writes,

    There is a strong temptation to simply say, "Tough. Get over it." Or some such. I think, from a black perspective, we don't expect sensitivity from people who've basically run shit for the past few centuries--especially given that we spent the last two decades hearing about how black people are so sensitive. Moreover, it was a kind of joke, a reversal of that old rhyme about "black get back."
    A lively discussion ensues in the comments.

    Here's my gassy two cents. We have a black president. But there's only one black senator -- and he was appointed with some controversy. There are two black governors; none in the South. The same is true in the private sector; blacks are still disproportionately represented amongst the poor. Look at the civil rights agenda of the incoming president at whitehouse.gov and you'll find the same old assumption that if the we legislate equality of civil rights then there will be equality of outcomes. The policy points are all well and good, if old, but they won't get us where we need to be. (Not that I'm saying discrimination is no longer a problem -- even whites who embrace what is right fall short wittingly or not -- but on the discrimination front the progress to be made is going to be primarily at the level of the heart and the impulse, beyond mental assent or mere law. Something that perhaps our children will be better at than we are.) The LGBT agenda (scroll down the civil rights agenda link just given) is fresher and more promising.

    Blacks may not have to get in the back of the bus anymore, but there's still a problem. Poverty amongst blacks is a legacy of slavery. There's much as a nation to be redressed by an attack on the problem of poverty. Not that there is an easy answer. But it's plain embarrassing (though, evidently, necessary politics) for all sides how much of the campaign was spent addressing the middle class -- read, the white middle class. I'm pretty sure it came up even more than Joe the Plumber.

    Now is the time to put away childish things.

    The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

    - Barack Obama

    Opportunity might suggest do no harm; do not discriminate on the basis of color. It might suggest to some that we mandate opportunities even if they are overpaid make-work projects. But I think Obama means attacking the sources of poverty at their roots so that more Americans can earn a good living and create a good environment for their children.

    Inauguration presents "teachable moment" in Episcopal school

    The Gazette of Montgomery County, Maryland carried this story about inauguration activities at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac:

    As the students of all colors and backgrounds joined together in a conga line that snaked around the room, the celebration seemed to answer Obama's call to come together as one.

    "We're passing the stage of racism," said Bokamoso youth group member Pearl Zondo, 19, of Obama's historic inauguration. "We're finally realizing that we are the same, if you can just forget our skin color."

    Students paired off to pinpoint a common trait — black, white, northern, southern, public school or private school attendees, for example— and discussed the "snap judgments" that came to mind for each phrase.

    "What we are all struggling with is to get beyond those first judgments or assumptions we make about people," said Kincaid. According to Alex Lis-Perlis, a St. Andrew's student who organized the workshop, a need for dialogue about diversity will remain after Obama's election.

    Self examination for a nation of jailers

    Brown University economist Glenn Loury on race and incarceration rates in the U.S.:

    It is a central reality of our time that a wide racial gap has opened up in cognitive skills, the extent of law-abidingness, stability of family relations, and attachment to the work force. This is the basis, many would hold, for the racial gap in imprisonment. Yet I maintain that this gap in human development is, as a historical matter, rooted in political, economic, social, and cultural factors peculiar to this society and reflective of its unlovely racial history. That is to say, it is a societal, not communal or personal, achievement. At the level of the individual case we must, of course, act as if this were not so. There could be no law, and so no civilization, absent the imputation to persons of responsibility for their wrongful acts. But the sum of a million cases, each one rightly judged fairly on its individual merits, may nevertheless constitute a great historic wrong. This is, in my view, now the case in regards to the race and social class disparities that characterize the very punitive policy that we have directed at lawbreakers. And yet, the state does not only deal with individual cases. It also makes policies in the aggregate, and the consequences of these policies are more or less knowable. It is in the making of such aggregate policy judgments that questions of social responsibility arise.

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    Coming out from the shadows

    The New York Times features the restoration of the slave galleries of St. Augustine's Church as a tribute to the history of those who worshipped from the shadows.

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    In Georgia: coming to terms with the legacy of slavery

    From a column in The Macon Telegraph by Catherine Meeks:

    The organizers of this event in the Diocese of Atlanta have the right idea. They are focusing on oral history and providing opportunities for people to tell their stories. The stories of the wounds that have come from slavery, segregation and racism have within them the cure for the injuries.

    More below the fold:

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    Bayard Rustin and the convergence of civil rights and gay rights

    From Killing the Buddha comes this essay by the Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou is the Senior Minister of Lemuel Haynes Congregational Church (UCC) in South Jamaica Queens, New York:

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    Historically black colleges face challenges and opportunities

    Diverse: Issues in Higher Education reflects on the opportunities and challenges facing historically black colleges and universities:

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    Memphis bishop: there is a subtle racism in the Catholic church

    Two Catholic bishops are raising the question of whether opposition to President Obama from within their church is a sign of racism. Archbishop (emeritus) Quinn is white. Bishop Steib is black.

    Back in March, the Most Rev. John R. Quinn, archbishop emeritus of San Francisco, wrote:

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    Jenkins explores truth & reconciliation commission

    The Times-Picayune reports that Bishop Charles Jenkins flew to South Africa last week to talk with church leaders and others there about that country's experience with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission, its role in bringing some racial healing after the fall of apartheid, and asking whether New Orleans might benefits from a similar process.

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    Obama signs Hate Crimes Law

    President Obama keeps promise to sign an expanded Hate Crimes Law.

    PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama Keeps Word on Hate Crime
    From the Associated Press and the New York Times

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    Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery

    From Indian Country Today, a weekly newspaper for the Native American Community:

    The Episcopal church has led the way for other Christian denominations to renounce the Christian Doctrine of Discovery and urge the U.S. government to endorse the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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    Prejudice is a factor

    A New York Times op-ed:

    The Senate leader’s choice of words was flawed, but positing that black candidates who look “less black” have a leg up is hardly more controversial than saying wealthy people have an advantage in elections. Dozens of research studies have shown that skin tone and other racial features play powerful roles in who gets ahead and who does not. These factors regularly determine who gets hired, who gets convicted and who gets elected.

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    Looking back at the lunch counter sit-ins and how they spread

    Fifty years ago, the lunch counter sit-ins began in Greensboro, N. C. Writing in the Virginian-Pilot, Denise Watson Batts describes how the movement quickly spead to Virginia, where 17-year-old Ed Rodman, now an Episcopal priest and professor at Episcopal Divinity School, found himself at the center of the storm:

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    Urging her to stay, Dr. King inspired 'what should be seen'

    It's an unlikely story about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - unlikely only because it has to do with his interactions with mainstream media personalities. Nevertheless, it includes a wink and a nudge of his brio.

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    How would Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last Sunday sermon play today?

    Martin Luther King gave his last Sunday sermon at Washington National Cathedral on March 31, 1968. Some of that sermon is reproduced below, but we urge you to read it all. Read it all and ask yourself how a man who says the kinds of things that Dr. King said would fare in the era of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

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    Does the culture of the poor explain their poverty?

    You don't have to agree with everything Stephen Steinberg writes to find plenty to engage with:

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    "Stealing" a better education

    Elon James White at This Week in Blackness offers his take on an ethically complex, racially charged situation in Akron, Ohio.

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    PB to preside and preach at anti-racism service

    Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will visit the Diocese of Western North Carolina to preside and preach at a Service of Repentance, Healing and Reconciliation in support of that diocese's work to dismantle racism:

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    Repenting the sin of racism

    From Episcopal News Service:

    Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori celebrated and preached at a Service of Repentance, Healing and Reconciliation April 9 at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Asheville, marking the end of a two-year period of study and conversation on the sin of racism in the Diocese of Western North Carolina.

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    Fighting cancer, minorities more likely to go for broke

    Researchers aren't sure why it is, but African Americans and other minorities are more likely to spend their life savings to fight cancer.

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    "The Help:" more reactions

    Yesterday, The Lead reported Elizabeth Geitz' review of the movie and book, The Help. A scan of more reviews reveals mixed feelings and reactions from grandchildren and children of the "help" portrayed in the movie.

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    The Church, repentance, and racial reconciliation

    Dr. Catherine Meeks, writing in the Huffington Post, urges Christians to takes steps to reconciliation:

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    Students take stand against racist Halloween costumes

    Huffington Post reports on a poster campaign from a ten member Ohio University student group Students Teaching Against Racism

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    Shop with ties to KKK must yield to black church, judge rules

    File under Sweet Justice. AP has the story.

    After a lengthy legal battle between a black South Carolina church and members of the Ku Klux Klan, a judge has ruled that the church owns a building where KKK robes and T-shirts are sold.

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    The Confederate battle flag on display at Episcopal cemetery

    My wife and I recently dropped in at a church that my grandfather served early in his career during the 1920s and 30s, one of three churches in his circuit. It is one of the oldest and most historic parishes in the Diocese of Virginia.

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    Bishop/COO Sauls on Trayvon Martin

    From The Huffington Post, here's some of how Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, frames the subjects of race, media, and leadership in the Trayvon Martin case.

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    EWC on Trayvon Martin

    Episcopal Women's Caucus comments on the Trayvon Martin case:

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    In Trayvon Martin case, racial divide runs through churches, too

    The Orlando Sentinel reports Sanford, Florida's churches have come to see how they have been divided by race in the wake of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, and how leaders of those congregations have responded in dialogue with one another and with civic leaders as they call for healing.

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    "Putting Anti-Racism training to work"

    The Rev. Peter Wallace took part in an anti-racism workshop in Atlanta recently. Most of the leadership of the Episcopal Church have done this. But Peter had an experience leaving the building that afternoon that forced him to put his new insights to work much sooner than he expected.

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    Rosa Parks remembered at National Cathedral

    The National Cathedral in Washington DC dedicated a stone carving of Rosa Parks yesterday according to USAToday:

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    Juneteenth

    June 19th celebrates the day in 1865 when word reached slaves in Texas.

    Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

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    "That's why they crucified him."

    Joe McKnight, an student at Union Theological Seminaryinterviewed the Rev. James H. Cone, Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary, on black liberation theology, among other subjects, for The Revealer. (The text of the interview begins about two thirds of the way down the page.)

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    Talking about race in America

    Chris Hayes gathers MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, The Atlantic magazine editor Ta-Nehisi Coates, Totally Biased host W. Kamau Bell and WBAI-FM host Jay Smooth to talk about Coates' latest article "Fear of a Black President."

    The video clip runs 13 minutes. The discussion is drawing praise on social media. What are your thoughts?

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    The last word on "that word"

    Why some words (like the "N" word) are allowed for some people to use and why it is not "unfair" that other people cannot use it.

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    A long ways to go to eradicate racism

    AP has released its latest poll on prejudice in the U.S and the news is bad:

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    Widow of Medgar Evers to deliver invocation at Obama inauguration

    Fifty years ago this June, civil rights leader Medgar Evers was slain in his home driveway by a rifle shot to his head. JFK had earlier that day given his speech proposing what became the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although a white supremacist was arrested soon after the murder it was thirty years before he would be convicted and sentenced. One of several good reasons for the choice is it underscores a commitment to address the senseless deaths of innocents each day in our country due to the plague of gun violence.

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    Good, racist people

    Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic, writes in the New York Times as a guest columnist on the frisking of actor Forest Whitaker.

    Whitaker, an African American, was accused of shoplifting at a deli by an employee and promptly frisked, when in reality he had done nothing.

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    Bishop Tarrant speaks on ministering among the historically hated

    Today at the House of Bishops Spring Retreat, Bishop John Tarrant spoke about some of the challenges that confront him and his people in the Diocese of South Dakota. The Office of Public Affairs' release includes this:

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    Multicultural church and "the vision of God"

    In a story of surprising theological depth, the Richmond Times Dispatch examines the question of why American churches are racially segregated, and whether one can truly experience the diversity of God's creation in self-segregated churches.

    Two Episcopal priests make an appearance, as Katharine Calos writes:

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    White men and mass killings

    An op-ed in the Washington Post by Harriet Childress and Charlotte Childress questions why mass killings in the US are mostly committed by white men:

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    Pleading for moderation in the face of injustice

    Fifty years ago today, the religious leaders of Alabama published the statement that prompted MLK to write his response from the Birmingham jail.

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    The most segregated cities in the U.S.

    Researchers from Florida State and Brown Universities have analyzed census data to compile a list of the country's most segregated cities, accompanied by maps showing which neighborhoods are the most segregated. Detroit, MI, is No. 1, followed by Milwaukie, WI, and New York, NY. Is your hometown on this list? What do you think contributes to the persistence of racial segregation in these areas and throughout the country?

    Malcolm Boyd: still taking Christianity to the streets

    The Rev. Malcolm Boyd is featured in the Christian Science Monitor as the priest who brought Christianity into the streets to promote civil rights:

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    Thurgood, Jonathan, and Pauli, Pray for us

    Today we remember Thurgood Marshall, Lawyer and Jurist who died in 1993 who, along with other Episcopalians, Jonathan Daniels and the Rev. Pauli Murray, blazed a trail of freedom witnessing to Christ along the way.

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    Remembering Medgar Evers on the 50th anniversary of his death

    Four Episcopal churches in Jackson, Mississippi will come together for their annual “Liturgy of Racial Reconciliation Commemorating the Life and Legacy of Medgar Wiley Evers” at 4 p.m. Sunday at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral.

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    Supreme Court rules on scope of Indian Child Welfare Act

    In another opinion issued today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the adoptive parents over the rights of the biological father in a case that involves questions about the Indian Child Welfare Act.

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    Commentary: Race still matters in America

    The Rev. Canon Gregory Jacobs of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark blogs today about racism in America, and President Obama's recent commencement speech at Morehouse University:

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    Preaching the Zimmerman verdict

    George Zimmerman has been found not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin. If you give or hear a sermon about tonight's verdict in this racially charged case, please tell us about it in the comments section of this post which we will update during the day.

    Reactions to the Zimmerman-Martin verdict from the church & elsewhere

    Episcopalians from around the church are responding to George Zimmerman's acquittal for the murder of Trayvon Martin.

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    Churches respond to Zimmerman-Martin verdict with "Hoodie Sunday"

    Paul Raushenbush of Huffington Post reports that at several black churches, clergy wore hoodies today in response to George Zimmerman's acquittal for the murder of Trayvon Martin.

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    Statement by the President: How to Honor Trayvon Martin

    The White House
    Office of the Press Secretary

    For Immediate Release July 14, 2013
    Statement by the President

    The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.

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    The Zimmerman aftermath in Central Florida and elsewhere

    The Rev. Charlie Holt, rector of St. Peter's Church, Lake Mary, in Seminole County, Florida where George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. He is helping to lead the effort to strengthen relationships through prayer. USA Today has the story:

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    Fruitvale Station: a new movie takes on additional resonance

    The movie Fruitvale Station has received excellent reviews. Writing for The Atlantic, Jason Bailey says it may shed some light on the way that Americans have responded to the killing of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman for his murder.

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    Rachel Jeantel offered full ride scholarship

    There is a lot of conversation on the news today concerning Rachel Jeantel, friend of Trayvon Martin and the last person to speak with him, from those who saw her as a stereotype, to those who illustrate the realities of education in today's world. Black America web bring some good news for Jeantel:

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    Bishop Lee asks "prayer, reflection and action" in wake of Zimmerman verdict

    Bishop Jeff Lee of Chicago is asking the people of his dioceseto respond to the killing of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman with "prayer, reflection and action in the face of the violence of our society." His letter includes specific recommendations that the people of the diocese might take in response to the verdict.

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    Nelson Mandela's first television interview: 1961

    On the occasion of Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday, it is interesting to look back at his first television interview in 1961.

    Happy Birthday, Mr. Mandela.

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    Examining our biases in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict

    President Obama's comments today (transcript) about reaction to the killing of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman are likely to touch off further debate about that case and the state of race relations in the United States.

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    White churches have been fairly quiet on the Zimmerman verdict

    Writing for the CNN Religion blog, Jeffrey Weiss of the late, great religion staff of the Dallas Morning News says predominantly white churches have been "uncommonly quiet" in the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. He writes:

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    Gene Robinson admires Chris Matthews' approach to talking about race

    Retired Bishop Gene Robinson writes in the Washington Post about Chris Matthews' compelling efforts to understand for himself - and advance the understanding of others about - the racial divide that exists in America:

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    White privilege and what can white people do?

    One of the questions many white people are asking these days is what can we do to combat racism? What steps can we take to understand and change systems? Yesterday Bishop Gene Robinson spoke about listening. Here are 2 other authors offering their views:

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    Jonathan Daniels pilgrimage

    The Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage will occur on August 10. The NWFDaily News writes:

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    Civil rights lawyer Julius Chambers dies

    Another giant in the Civil Rights movement has died. Julius Chambers was 76.

    In 1949, 13-year-old Julius was looking forward to following his two older siblings 100 miles east to the private Laurinburg Institute. But one April day, fighting back tears, Chambers told his son that the $2,000 he’d saved to send him off to school was gone, thanks to a white customer whose 18-wheeler Chambers had maintained and repaired for months, buying parts out of his own pocket. That morning, the man had refused to pay the bill and jeered as he drove off with the rig.
    ...

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    Dean Hall on racism "The enemy today looks much like you and me."

    Dean Gary Hall of Washington National Cathedral took part in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington on Saturday, and then preached a sermon on Sunday in which he said it was time for the cathedral to confront its own institutionalized racism. An excerpt:

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    Marching on Washington, labor led the way

    The success, 50 years ago, of the March on Washington, owed much to American labor unions. But, as Michael Kazin wrote recently:

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    Four murdered girls

    Today is the 50th anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama that took the lives of four girls. Kim Lawton of Religion and Ethics Newsweeky has an excellent report.

    Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley were 14. Denise McNair was 11.

    Two young black men were shot to death in racial violence later in the day.

    More clergy join move to change Washington DC football team name

    A gathering of Washington, DC area clergy have joined the move to change the racist name of the Washington professional football team. Religion News Service reports:

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    98 percent believe there is racial discrimination in the U.S.

    A poll sponsored by The Episcopal Church finds a near universal belief that there is a discrimination in the U.S.

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    Live web forum "Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America" today

    ENS

    To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and other important milestones in the civil right movement, The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Mississippi will host a 90-minute forum, Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America, live-streamed from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson, Mississippi, on November 15, at 2 p.m. (EST).

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    State of Racism: after the conference

    Participants in the Episcopal Church program, Nov. 15-16 “Fifty Years Later: The State of Racism in America,” speak of the experience and how they see anti-racism work going forward. From Episcopal News Service

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    A South African priest in California reflects on the meaning of Madiba

    The Rev. Lester V. Mackenzie, a native South African, has written a lovely meditation on Nelson Mandela for the House of Deputies site. Mackenzie, a priest at St. Matthew's in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and a clergy deputy from the Diocese of Los Angeles, is a third generation priest whose grandfather was a bishop in the South Africa in the 1990s.

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    Presiding Bishop preaches on racial reconciliation

    The Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached at the Cathedral in New Orleans at their Service of Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation. Episcopal News Service publishes her sermon:

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    Stop using racial slurs as sports team names

    The National Congress of American Indians is running an ad against the use of "Indian" sports brands - especially the one used by the Washington DC football team.

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    My brother's keeper: Obama confronts obstacles for young men of color

    President Obama increases awareness of obstacles facing young men of color and especially young black men. Christian Science Monitor reports:

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    Why Cliven Bundy Was Not A Religious Hero

    At Religion Dispatches, Sarah Posner cites an article by several commentators about why Cliven Bundy did not become a hero of the Religious Right (and Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame did):

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    The Case for Reparations

    192px-TaNehisi_Coates_BBF_2010_Shankbone.jpg
    Ta-Nehisi Coates makes a powerful case for reparations. From The Atlantic:

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    Millennials see themselves as post-racial

    Christian Science Monitor reports that millennials see themselves as post racial. MTV tries to give them some perspective:

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    Racism and other forms of bigotry live on as "religious freedom"

    Emma Green of The Atlantic writes:

    In an interesting new survey, the Public Religion Research Institute found that 10 percent of Americans believe business owners should be able to refuse to serve black people if they see that as a violation of their religious beliefs.

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    Americans have thoroughly mixed attitudes on racial discrimination

    Here's another interesting, and disturbing finding based in the Pew Research Center's recently released "typology report." Kevin Drum writes:

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    The Civil Rights Act of 1964: 50 years later

    Numerous articles and conversations on The Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed on July 2nd, 1964:

    NPR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook dedicated its first hour to "The Civil Rights Act At 50, and Beyond":

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    Here I Am, Send Me: The story of Jonathan Daniels

    Just in time for the celebration of the Feast Day on August 14 honoring Jonathan Daniels. A documentary "exploring the life of a modern Christian martyr who gave his life bravely defending a young woman in Alabama during the civil rights era." This is the story of a young Episcopal seminarian who went to Alabama to stand up for civil rights and justice. From Episcopal Marketplace:

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    Campaign to Cancel "Black Jesus" TV show

    Posted today on the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE) Facebook page1902006_10152136671298697_7049436606549832049_n.jpg:

    CALL TO ACTION: Cancel "Black Jesus" - "Black Jesus," is a comedy show slated to premiere, on August 7, on the Cartoon Network during its child-unfriendly late-night spot, which they call Adult Swim. (Cartoon Network is owned by Turner Broadcasting, which owns CNN.)

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    Hands up as protest

    "Hands-up"...chanted and displayed...has become the major form of protest in Ferguson.

    Matt Pearce in the LA Times:

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    What is happening in Ferguson, Missouri?

    Like many other people, we are trying to make sense of the frightening and deeply trouble events unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of a Ferguson police officer shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, to death on Saturday.

    Like many other people we are shocked by what seems an extreme overreaction on the part of local and county police in responding to the protests that followed the killing.

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    A mother's white privilege

    Manic Pixie Dream Mama has some thoughts on the white privilege she and her three sons enjoy:

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    Ferguson: what we heard from the pulpit

    Yesterday, Ann Fontaine asked you what you heard from the pulpit. Preachers, what did you say?

    Here are some of the responses we received.

    The Very Rev. Mike Kinman, dean of the Episcopal Cathedral in St. Louis:

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    Talking to kids about difficult subjects

    FORMA, always a wealth of information, has put forward resources that can be used to discuss issues like Ferguson with children and youth in your faith community.

    Written and compiled by Danielle Dowd, the diocesan youth missioner in the Diocese of Missouri (where Ferguson is located), she points out:

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    12 Ways to be a White Ally to Black People

    Wondering what you as a white person can do to change the racism in the U.S."
    The Root names 12 ways to be a white ally:

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    Living in another's skin and our own

    Ericka Hines has some excellent insights about biases and privileges, with suggestions about how we can learn to recognize and combat them. Tobias Haller reflects on what his experience of privilege teaches him.

    She notes (shared with permission from Facebook):

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