Dr. Martin Luther King challenged the church for its silence in addressing the freedom movement in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail by stating: "I felt we would be supported by the white church...instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows."
Well, the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast affirmatively answered the continued call for eradicating systemic racism on October 13, 2016, at All Saints Episcopal Church in Mobile, when it opened a dialogue by hosting a presentation by the Rev. Jonathan Augustine, Senior Pastor of historic St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in New Orleans. It was truly an ecumenical event, with over 150 individuals in attendance, representing lay and clergy individuals from the Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, and the AME denominations. This included a large attendance from Good Shepard, and St. Cyprian's, with individuals as far away as from Ft. Walton, Destin and Dothan. Rev. Augustine gave a compelling and dynamic presentation on "Why the Church is the appropriate place to begin a discussion on Racial Reconciliation."
The video* of Rev. Augustine's presentation will become available soon.
To facilitate dialogue within your own church community, consider hosting an open discussion and pose the question: What can we do to stand up and be counted in the quest to eradicate systemic racism in our communities?
We anticipate this presentation to be one of many others that will take place in the diocese. If you are interested in participating in holy conversations carrying out this important ministry, please contact Joe McDaniel at 415-225-9066 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Gary Moore at 251-928-3311 or email@example.com.
*Special thanks to the Rev. John C. George, rector at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepard, for his tireless efforts at making this video possible.