Since the 1991 General Convention, the Episcopal Church has approved resolutions that invite Episcopalians, lay and ordained, to repent the sin of racism and to work for its eradication. During the 2012 General Convention, the Episcopal Church recommitted to the resolution and dedicated itself to continuing to work against the sin of racism for the next three triennia, until 2018. (More about the history of the Episcopal Church’s antiracism work is available on page 65 of our training manual).
Antiracism training, oversight and implementation is to be carried out on provincial and diocesan levels, to develop new programs to dismantle structures of racism and integrate the practices of antiracism into ongoing life. The Committee of the Church, a committee of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, has been tasked with guiding, monitoring and evaluating this ongoing work and recommending best practices.
Presently, as an initiative of the canons of Province I (the seven New England dioceses), a task force is in the process of developing a resource that will be used, adapted and replicated by dioceses collectively and/or individually to enhance clergy and lay cultural competency. The canons have expressed a desire to move beyond antiracism training to stress positive competency and broaden the parameters to include cultural aspects and explore other forms of “-isms.”
The Diocese of Massachusetts is committed to this work of reconciliation and has engaged it through programming on a variety of levels: bishop-led discussion, self-study, exploration of collusion with oppression, worship, parish initiatives, Resource Days and other workshops.
The Antiracism Ministry Team in the diocese has been giving trainings which are a journey of personal discernment, with materials principally taken from Seeing the Face of God in Each Other 2011 Anti-Racism Training Manual of the Episcopal Church. Other resources are also used.
The training method involves participatory education which offers participants opportunities to share experiences, reflections on current issues and develop tools for change.
The goals of Seeing the Face of God in Each Other are:
1. To create an environment which will promote a collegial community of mutual learning.
2. To promote learning which is both experiential and intellectual by having participants analyze the dynamics of power and oppression on the personal, the interpersonal, the institutional and systemic levels so that they can engage in the visioning of an alternate reality for the church and society.
3. To explore ways all Episcopalians can transform racist and other oppressive structures in the church and community and work to promote cultural competency, an antiracist multicultural and fully inclusive country.
Typically training is offered for 12 hours in the following format: Thursday evening, 5-9 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., ending with Eucharist. Other formats (including Spanish language) and additional training dates can be requested. Please contact Jennifer Garrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-482-4826, ext. 421 for more information.
Refreshments and a nutritious lunch are provided. There is a fee of $50 per person, which includes training materials. Participants will receive a certificate of completion.
Trainings will be posted on the Events calendar as they are made available.