Becoming Beloved Community
“‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.’” (Luke 17:20-21)
Dear St. Michael’s,
I write full of excitement and hope about the next phase of our communal life. The invitation is this: let us commit to Becoming Beloved Community. A lengthy explanation follows, but the presenting purpose is simple: How might our commitment to form God’s people in Christ’s image shape all that we do? This is not unlike much of the work we have been doing together. We’ve been on a journey to grow in kinship as a community and with our neighbors. This is simply our next step, an expansion of our understanding of community, and a new phrase for talking about our commitment to this kingdom work. You’re going to be hearing lots about it this year, so I write with an overview and invitation to Become Beloved Community.
Below is a list of upcoming events that detail the ways in which beloved community is taking shape in our midst.
Traces of the Trade Viewing
On Sunday, September 25th we offered a parish-wide screening of the film that served as the inspiration for the creation of the Sacred Ground curriculum. In the feature documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, filmmaker Katrina Browne discovers that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She and nine cousins retrace the Triangle Trade and gain powerful new perspectives on the black/white divide.
The focus of our pocket practice in this season after Pentecost is to practice becoming beloved. Each Sunday in worship we set aside a few minutes to connect with another in sharing a brief reflection as to how we are exploring our own belovedness. Pick up a card to take with you in worship on Sunday, or use the prompt found on our website at anytime.
Sacred Ground Dialogue Circles Forming
Sacred Ground is a film-based dialogue series on race and faith that has made a tremendous impact in our community. Take two minutes to watch Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s invitation to participate in Sacred Ground.
- Sacred Ground is a sensitive, prayerful resource that creates space for difficult but respectful and transformative dialogue on race and racism.
- It invites participants to walk back through history in order to peel away the layers that brought us to today, reflecting on family histories and stories, as well as important narratives that shape the collective American story.
- It holds as a guiding star the vision of beloved community – where all people are honored and protected and nurtured as beloved children of God, where we weep at one another’s pain and seek one another’s flourishing.
Beginning the week of October 10th, St. Michael’s will host dialogue circles on Wednesday evenings and Thursday afternoons. Please register here to participate in a St. Michael’s Dialogue Circle. Additionally, The Diocese of Virginia will host online dialogue circles with participants from across the diocese beginning the week of September 11th. You may register for one of those dialogue circles here. Please note: the content for the parish and diocesan offerings are identical. The participation – whether parish specific or diocesan wide – is the only difference. Please contact, The Rev. Beth Franklin with any questions
Voter Registration: Why it Matters and How You Can Help
Did you know that, “Across the country, states impose varying felony disenfranchisement policies, preventing an estimated 6.1 million Americans from casting ballots. This widespread disenfranchisement disproportionately impacts people of color. One in every 13 voting-age African Americans cannot vote, a disenfranchisement rate more than four times greater than that of all other Americans. In four states, more than one in five black adults are denied their right to vote. Although the data on Latino disenfranchisement is less comprehensive, a 2003 study of ten states ranging in size from California to Nebraska found that nine of those states “disenfranchise the Latino community at rates greater than the general population.’” (Racism and Felony Disenfranchisement: An Intertwined History)
As we seek to repair the breach caused by racism, fellow parishioners have partnered with Reclaim Our Vote, a non-partisan organization whose mission is to empower under-represented voters to fully participate in elections. Post-card writing parties will focus on encouraging voters to register. Join us for one or all of the dates listed below.
Monday, September 12th at 7 PM in the Parish Hall
Tuesday, September 27th at 3 PM in the Parish Hall