“You are welcome at St. George’s regardless of race, nationality, sexual orientation, gender expression, or tradition.” This welcome statement has been part of the St. George’s congregational culture for a long time. Part of welcoming people means that we are honest about our past and courageous about our present and future. In order for welcome to have integrity, we must acknowledge and struggle to change the realities of inequity which are the opposite of welcome.
Along with The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, St. George’s leaders and members are, “with God’s help” living into the Episcopal Church’s baptismal promise to “strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being.” We follow the lead of the wider Anglican communion to “transform the unjust structures of society” as an essential marker of our common mission. All these things are grounded in Jesus’ command to “love one another as I have loved you.”
We publicly renounce the sins of racism and white supremacy in all their forms, subtle and overt, even as we are still coming to understand what those sins are and how they operate in our lives. We confess that the histories of The Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, and St. George’s all contain numerous examples of collaborating with and benefiting from systematic oppression based on race. There have been occasions in the past when the church repented of its sins and further committed itself to the work of racial justice, healing, and reconciliation. We also confess that while our church has made progress, we still have much work to do in living out our commitments and engaging others in that process.
We invite our members and the wider community to be part of the process with us. This web page is a work in progress, a collection of statements by leaders in our parish and the wider church as well as resources for learning and transformation. Please keep checking back as we are adding new content and continuing our work in community.
Collect for Social Justice:
Almighty God, who created us in your image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, page 260
Racial Reconciliation Book Group:
St. George’s Racial Reconciliation Book Group has been reading and discussing a wide range of books. Below is their reading schedule. The group meets the third Tuesday of the month from 7 pm – 8:30 pm. For more information on the group, please contact the church office.
Beginning June 30, 2020, St. George’s has formed a second book group that meets the fourth Tuesday of the month at 2 pm. The July book for discussion is White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard to Get White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DeAngelo. For more information on this group, please contact the church office.
St. George’s has copies of many of these books in our library. To borrow a copy, please contact the church office. If you’d like to purchase a book, please consider ordering from a Black-owned bookstore. Click here for a list of Black owned bookstores in the United States – compiled by the AALBC (African American Literature Book Club. You can search by name, state, or view a map.
- From the Episcopal Church: Learn, Pray, Act – Resources for Addressing Racist Violence and Policy Brutality
- From the National Cathedral: June 14, 2020 Sermon by The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. Video includes ASL interpretation. This sermon includes a helpful retelling from a contemporary prophetic voice of the history of racism throughout American history.
- From St. George’s: Message from our Rector, the Rev. Joseph H. Hensley, Jr. on our commitment to racial justice and reconciliation
- Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing: www.centerforracialhealing.org
- From the Diocese of Virginia: Dismantling Racism