“We Are Ready” – A Note From Rev. Elaine
Last Saturday afternoon, while composing a sermon with a very heavy heart in response to Philando Castile’s death, the deaths of Dallas police officers, and a faith response to systemic racism, an email from a reporter with NPR appeared in my inbox.
I froze. National Public Radio wanted to cover OUR church service and talk to OUR people.
And then my first thought was, “We are ready for this.”
I had never before been a part of a faith community – or any community, really – where I would have thought, “Yes, I am proud for you to profile our racial justice work on national news. I can think of many people whom you can interview. We are ready for you.”
We are ready because of our work over the last three years as a congregation, because of the powerful ownership of this work institutionally, and because of the visionary leadership of our board, the Racial Justice Leadership Team, and our senior minister, Rev. Justin Schroeder. (I’m telling you, in ministerial circles, people are envious of the amazing ministerial team I get to work with, and I just try to keep my beaming modest, because I am a midwesterner, after all.)
In the wake of such despair, this gives me hope. We are becoming known as a beacon of racial justice work in the community. Our people are showing up in actions and demonstrations. Activist groups and communities of color are meeting in our spaces. All of us are understanding race, racism, and whiteness in an ever-deepening, more nuanced way and we can articulate how racial justice work deeply connects to our faith commitments. We are learning, growing, being vulnerable, listening humbly, and showing up.
This is but a very small piece in the very large field of racial justice work. It isn’t perfect, and it’s still a work in progress. But it’s our piece and, I have to say, I’m so proud of us.
I just met today with Kayci Rush and Polly Talen, two of our very talented racial justice leaders, to plan out our racial justice programming for the next year. Our home-grown team of trainers and leaders will be offering relevant, meaningful, and spiritually grounded opportunities for learning and growing. No doubt there will be opportunities to show up in the public arena as well. Stay tuned, friends. I am with you.