Over the last months, a small group of Redeemer parishioners, prayerfully and honestly, grappled with the task of creating a leadership statement on race for Church of the Redeemer. Given the magnitude of this moment in our communities and our nation, this task force created a biblical and theologically grounded guidance statement for the Redeemer's leaders. This statement serves as a starting point for our parish work on race, and should be read as a first commitment by clergy, the wardens and the vestry to be aware of the pervasive sin of racism as we seek "to bring people to Christ and to bring Christ to all people" through all of our programs and commitments. This is a work that will take many, many years, and none of us maintain delusions of grandeur about the difference one parish can make. However, God's call to faithfulness requires our prayerful and committed response to this moment and to one another. The Vestry approved this statement at our August 18th vestry meeting. I am deeply grateful for the work of the task force and the commitment of our leaders.
I wish to thank the task force for their good and holy work:
James DeWolfe Perry
Church of the Redeemer's Leadership Statement on Race
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The video of his death has awakened a national call for justice and equity for Black Americans and other people of color amidst a wider culture of systemic racism. Mr. Floyd’s death reminded our nation yet again of its painful history and present beset by violence against Black Americans and other people of color.
As a parish of the Episcopal Church that “exists to bring people to Christ and to bring Christ to all people” the Church of the Redeemer must prayerfully discern God’s call to faithfully join the chorus of voices raised for justice, repentance and reconciliation in the face of the sin of racism both systemic and particular. Racism is a sign of human brokenness, and we reject it in its many forms. As Christians, we look to Christ who tore down the dividing walls that separate neighbor from neighbor and creature from Creator. Our Baptismal Covenant from the Book of Common Prayer 1979 asks of the baptized five questions essential for living the Christian life and practicing the Christian faith:
Will you continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the prayers?
Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
Will you serve Christ in all persons loving your neighbor as yourself?
Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
We cannot claim the Christian faith for ourselves as set forth in the Baptismal Covenant and remain silent or neutral in the face of racism. Therefore, we, the Clergy, Wardens, and Vestry of the Church of the Redeemer hereby vow to engage in:
Prayerful introspection, contemplation and repentance of our personal biases and/or our silence that has participated in national patterns of discrimination and exclusivity.
Prayerful conversations of learning and listening to better understand our personal and collective participation in systemic racism as American Christians.
Prayerful relationship building with the people of color in our own parish, our mission partners in Boston and those in our community and beyond through invitational and intentional conversations of humble listening.
Prayerful action with our ministry partners, local leaders, and our wider community to understand and combat the pervasive sin of racism in our own lives, our parish, and our communities.