Here’s one practical proposal. Pull together a group to write a more honest church history that begins with this simple question: Why is our church physically located where it is? Why is it in this part of our community and not another one? In nearly all cases this question will quickly lead to issues of racially segregated neighborhoods, white flight from cities to suburbs and land grabs from Native Americans, to name just a few.
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In private, many of Trump’s comments about religion are marked by cynicism and contempt, according to people who have worked for him. Former aides told me they’ve heard Trump ridicule conservative religious leaders, dismiss various faith groups with cartoonish stereotypes, and deride certain rites and doctrines held sacred by many of the Americans who constitute his base.
Our friends at Episcopal News Service report on a parish in Baltimore which is grappling with its history of racism. While congregations across The Episcopal Church are confronting examples of historical racism, the history of Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland, stands out as “particularly sordid,” the Rev. Grey Maggiano, the church’s rector, told Episcopal News …
“What if 2020 has afforded us all a retreat – a time to spend time with ourselves, to identify with what we hold to be important. History will surely be both compassionate and judgmental in how many have approached this pandemic and in policies enacted and those not followed. We will all have stories of this year to pass along to others but what if, perhaps in just a small way, once we return to “normal” we miss it just a little? What if we look back and realize lost opportunity?”
“Campus ministry is already a practice of ‘virtual’ church, in which networking replaces settled congregational life. In a time when internet networking has replaced face-to-face connections some of the networking skills of the campus minister can be useful not only to new campus life, but also to new parish life. Having a vocation that is not bound to physical space can be helpful when physical space is not available or practical.”
“Praying for the faith to release our loved ones to God, opening ourselves to accepting their choices, and disciplining ourselves to give our opinions only when asked are all difficult practices but definitely worth the work. And let’s add to our to-do list the removal of the subtle guilt trips, looks of disappointment, and easily readable body language that can also be powerful forms of control.”
In the small Florida community where I grew up, there was a palatial and historically prominent mansion called the Porcher House. It was mostly abandoned when I was a teen and is now a wedding and events venue, having been restored and added to the National Historic Registry. It is a lovely piece of architecture, made of local coquina rock and bearing four stones in its façade that …