Acknowledgment is the first step to dealing with any tough problem. It can also be the most difficult, especially for those who proclaim the dignity of all humankind. With this in mind, a diocesan team committed to the work of dismantling racism convened at a retreat in late March to outline a path to restoration and a plan for action.
Under the guidance of Elizabeth Parker, member of Christ Church in Montpelier, and the Rev. Rob Spainhour, rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Swanton, the Dismantling Racism team, established three goals: (1) To cultivate an understanding of racism in America, (2) to engage with communities marginalized by race, and (3) reconciliation and restoration of all peoples in communion with God and each other.
The team has also recommended a four-phase approach to achieving these goals: (1) Acknowledgment, (2) Engagement, (3) Reconciliation, and (4) Restoration. Detailed actions within each phase are an intended focus of the team’s meetings. Additionally, as the dismantling racism approach is further developed, the team is planning to communicate updates regularly throughout the diocese.
One of the team’s members Raquel Aronhime from the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington, sees this foundational work as an important step for the diocese. Aronhime explained that as next steps the team has begun assembling a list of recommended readings and viewings and would be proposing a “Clergy Day”—a gathering of all clergy throughout the diocese—to explore key issues and to answer the fundamental questions: Why should we care? How should we care?
Details about the reading list and clergy day are forthcoming. In the meantime, the Dismantling Racism team continues to meet and welcomes new members to support this important work. To get involved, please contact Elizabeth Parker by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.