Racial Reconciliation: How St. Mark’s can lead

Our Lenten Study series this year will focus on the theme of racial reconciliation. This will be part of a broader-based effort at St. Mark’s to delve into this issue.

On Sunday after the 10:30 service, Father Tyrone Fowlkes led a discussion on the topic of Racial Reconciliation.

Last Sunday, Father Tyrone led a well-attended session to discuss how we might address this issue. “Why this issue, why now?” Father Tyrone asked. “Let’s look at where we might go on a very sensitive, very charged, very delicate, very necessary issue.”

Tyrone mentioned conversations with Vestry member Jessie Maeck concerning St. Mark’s participation in the New Hope Road Alliance of faith communities. “This is one thing for the alliance to rally around.”

The Charlottesville, Va., rally of white supremacists which erupted into violence occurred the day before Tyrone’s second sermon at St. Mark’s, so, he said, this is a timely topic.

Please make plans to join us for our Lenten study series that begins Wednesday, Feb. 21. It will feature “I Am Not Your Negro,” a documentary based on James Baldwin’s book.

“We can all make some contribution, if only the idea of awareness,” Tyrone said.

“There was a lot of coverage was around the clergy, of the skirmishes between the clergy and the white supremacists. That was a witness the church needs to make; Jesus calls us to care about the dehumanization of people, to have some response to that. There is a particular witness that the faith community can make.

“You and I have our own experiences with racism. Racism is sinful, it’s insidious, it’s of the devil, it robs people of their dignity and self-worth, it dims and diminishes the image of God that is in all of us. It diminishes opportunities and pathways to livelihood and to education. All of these have been impacted and infected by the sin of racism. Racism undermines people, communities, and the Gospel. We are all impacted by this.

“So my thought is that we open up this conversation, we invite our parish into this discussion. This may be an issue in which our parish takes some leadership in this diocese. Right now the work is beginning the conversation, being informed, looking at who we are and how we contribute either overtly or
covertly, or unknowingly and unwillingly. We begin to travel down the road that will be difficult; it will not be a walk in the park – and that is probably a good indication why you should be doing it. I’m not willing to sit silent and take it. We all lay down in bed at night with feelings about it, we all wake up in
the morning with feelings about it. We can’t dodge this one.”