Pastoral Letter & Congregational Book Study

Posted on June 12, 2020

Dear People of Trinity,

We have seen an enormous international response to the sin of systemic racism. Like many of you, I have wondered what my personal response should be. Where am I being called by God to confront sin and evil in the world? (A sin and evil that perhaps I have even benefitted from?) Here’s what I do know: Sin and evil in our lives doesn’t just melt away. It requires the power of repentance, reconciliation and God’s forgiveness to be made clean. The first part of that always requires us to confront the sin. Even when it is uncomfortable. Especially when it is uncomfortable.

I began by having a conversation, along with other community clergy, with our city mayor and chief of police about just policing practices in our community. My work continues by listening to the ocean of voices that have made passionate and clear requests. Part of that listening includes educating myself about the framework of systemic racism that is interwoven in our politics, our schools, and even our churches.

This summer, I will be reading and learning as a spiritual practice. I would love some conversation partners if anyone else would like to explore these books. I am beginning with Ijeoma Oluo’s “So You Want to Talk about Race.” After that, I will be tackling Jennifer Harvey’s “Raising White Kids: Bringing up Children in a Racially Unjust America” and Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to Be Antiracist.” Please email me if you’re interested in reading and discussing one or more of these books. You don’t even have to be willing to discuss with other people. If you only want to talk to me – that can be arranged.

There are other church resources available in our area as well (see below). Space for prayer, space for training, space for processing. I continue to encourage you to be good citizens and safeguard the baptismal vows we made: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? I will, with God’s help.”


Resources listed:

“So You Want to Talk about Race” by Ijeoma Oluo 

“Raising White Kids: Bringing up Children in a Racially Unjust America” by Jennifer Harvey

“How to Be Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi


Other resources to explore:

As we grieve the death of more than 100,000 beloved humans in the US from COVID-19, a disproportionate number of whom are Black (you can read more about this in The AtlanticThe Washington Post, or the CDC website), and as we grieve the loss of beloved humans George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmed Arbery, along with countless other unnamed victims of racism — we call on our faith for comfort, guidance, and conviction.

Structural racism takes Black and Brown lives everyday through a variety of violent means, including police/civilian brutality and healthcare inequities. Our faith condemns the sin of racism in all its forms and calls us to participate in racial healing, justice, and reconciliation. In response to these devastating and on-going realities of structural racism, the Beloved Community Commission invites each of you to join us for 20 minutes on Mondays in June at 12pm for communal prayer and lament. We will take this time to specifically reflect on deaths caused by racism in our current moment– notably, but not exclusively through COVID-19 and police/civilian killings– and spend our time together in prayer, silence, and shared grief.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 892 7059 0452
Password: 368639
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Becoming a Catalyst is a 5-week small group program that equips participants to understand the structures of racial oppression that pervade our lives, communities, and world. The summer cohort will be our fifth cohort. You can read more about the program here:
Fall Cohort: Saturdays, five meetings every other week, 9am-12pm 9/12, 9/26, 10/10, 10/24, 11/7. Registration closes 8/29.
Register here:
Participants must commit to attend all five sessions in their entirety.
We will take up to 15 participants; we require at least seven participants to run the program.
Please note that these cohorts will be virtual, so you will need a strong wifi connection, an uninterrupted space, and a device that has both audio and video capabilities.
Please direct any questions to Sara Eccleston, chair of the Training and Education Subcommittee:
For more ideas and resources, please visit: and join their mailing list.

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