“The beauty of being an anti-racist is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.” – author Iljeoma Uluo
Beloved St. John’s community,
We have all been anguished by the killing of George Floyd and the tremendous racial injustices this has illuminated in our country. As followers of Jesus’ Way of Love, I believe we are called to pray, lament, repent, and act to address the sin of racial injustice and white supremacy in our country. In fact, I believe this is one of the most primary callings of the church in the United States, which has for far too long been actively supportive, complicit or silent in face of racism and violence toward communities of color in this nation. This is particularly true for predominantly white congregations like St. John’s.
This page contains resources and information about how St. John’s is seeking to do that. More deeply, however, we are called to be true disciples of Jesus’ Way of Love. With God’s help, we must do our own inner work to repent for racism in ourselves, our church, and our immediate neighborhoods, in order to advocate with integrity for change in our systems. We must marry short term immediate response with long term commitment to address the specific sins of our nation, and the ways those sins—a culture of white supremacy, racism and dominance—has impacted every part of our common life and awareness.
I am inviting St. John’s to learn more deeply about racism. Of course, reading books will not by itself change anything. But it will be helpful for St. John’s to have some common language and understanding as a starting place for prayerfully discerning the intersections between discipleship to Jesus’ Way and needed anti-racism work in the United States and ourselves.
Meanwhile, please stay tuned for more from me in the days and weeks to come. Jesus is with us, even to the end of the age; and it is God alone who achieves true healing. May it be so!
For decades, members of St. John’s have been deeply engaged in the community around us. Our members have a passion for direct personal service and relationships, broader systemic change, and the pursuit of justice for individuals and whole communities. Guided by the Baptismal Covenant, we aim “to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being.”
Our members demonstrated for Civil Rights and nuclear disarmament in the 1960s, created a chemical dependency recovery program in the 1970s and became a resource for AIDS ministry in the 1980s. In the 2000’s and 2010’s, members played important leadership and organizing roles related to public policy advocacy on a variety of issues including affordable housing, immigration, anti-racism and same-sex marriage.
Today, work on those issues continues, with a greater focus on building partnerships and personal relationships that help us bridge differences of race, class, culture, and opportunity. Our Centennial Fund for Social Justice is a great example of this. The members of the Justice and Service Committee, some of whose “day jobs” are in the field, bring extraordinary knowledge and passion to this ministry.
The Justice & Service Committee meets bi-monthly. These meetings serve as valuable touch points for the leaders of the various ministries, time to reflect on new initiatives and strengthen existing ones, as well as manage the fiduciary responsibilities of St. John’s social justice funds. Contact the office to be connected with this group.