By Charis Bhagianathan
This moment in history like many before it is an opportunity to change something. This is a moment ripe for listening, learning and repenting. And so I invite you to consume this issue of Vestry Papers that brings together voices from across the Church speaking bold truth on the theme of racial justice, healing and reconciliation. I encourage you to sit with the powerful words and ideas. We have so much work to do – let us listen, learn and work together on this journey.
By Jemonde Taylor
Racial reconciliation can begin only when we truthfully encounter and examine our history. In Christ Beyond the Pale, Jemonde Taylor reflects on the theological roots of racism and discrimination and examines what it means to be formed by grace.
By Stephanie Spellers
We live in a country that has been organized to ensure the systemic diminishment and elimination of people of color. In America, Why Can’t you Stop Killing Us? Canon Stephanie Spellers invites us to take the first step on the path to liberation – powerful truth telling.
By David Romanik
How do we respond when those who look and speak differently knock on our door? When two Swahili-speaking refugee families from Congo arrived at Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, Texas, in 2013, the community’s first response was to help with their physical needs. In Breaking Down Walls, David Romanik shares the process of discernment and the practical steps that followed as they shifted their focus to bringing God’s purpose for the community to life.
By Philip Vinod Peacock
How does our theology legitimize or subvert power structures in society? In Act of Protest, Act of Faith, Philip Peacock describes the radical stance on apartheid taken by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and explains why God is always on the side of the oppressed.
By Catherine Meeks
What does an honest conversation about repairing the breach entail? In Do You Really Want to Talk About Reparations?, Catherine Meeks challenges us think beyond monetary offerings alone, and start by having hard conversations about the systems that needs to be dismantled and rebuilt for justice to be delivered.
By Kelly Brown Douglas
The alienation of America from its soul is at the root of normalizing dehumanizing and violence against black lives. In Do We Want to Be White, Or Do We Want to be Church? Dean Kelly Brown Douglas asks communities of faith to lead this country back to its soul by setting an example through repentant truth-telling and restorative letting-go.
By Mario Conliffe and Janet Merkel
Discuss ways to tame and cope with anxiety, fears, and concerns that may arise as we re-open our churches and regather for worship
By Greg Syler
In part 2 of his blog on transformational vestries, Greg Syler advocates that we work to better align our vestries with the methods of a missionary church.
By Ken Mosesian
In Church as Brand, Ken Mosesian describes a brand as a promise, something that you can count on. What can you count on your church for?