The Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast is pleased to announce Valerie Mitchell of All Saints, Mobile as the new co-chair for the Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation. Mitchell will serve alongside Joe McDaniel of Christ Church, Pensacola. We offer many blessings and much gratitude for the mission and ministry of outgoing co-chair Gary Moore of St. Paul's Chapel, Magnolia Springs.
Mitchell says, "Serving on the Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation has been profoundly rewarding, if at times exhausting! This commission is the most active and hard-working in our diocese; we all give sacrificially of our time. The results feel tangible and meaningful because each commission member truly has a passion for our mission of extending racial justice in the world. As a bonus, in doing our work, we have formed a personal bond that has deeply enriched my life.
During my time on the commission, I have seen individual people be moved, educated, enriched, and enlightened by participating in one of our events. My prayer is that in the coming months and years, we can extend our reach and make our transforming programs available all around our diocese. Gary Moore, who is retiring as co-chair, and Joe McDaniel have worked tirelessly over the five years of the commission's existence to build a wide range of opportunities, including workshops, pilgrimages, worship experiences, speaker events, and more. With the foundation that Gary and Joe have so firmly established, Joe and I can build on that and expand our offerings, especially to those parts of the diocese that we have not yet reached. I believe that all of us, regardless of race and regardless of where we are in our journey toward racial understanding, have a great deal more to learn. I hope that we can make opportunities for learning available to many people all over our diocese.
I encourage everyone to take a look at our website, https://www.diocgc.org/racial-justice-and-reconciliation, where you can find our calendar. In the next month, we have a Becoming Beloved Community workshop scheduled for October 7 at St. James in Eufaula and a pilgrimage to the Equal Justice Initiative's memorial and museum in Montgomery on October 21. Details about those events and information about how to register can be found on the website. Our website also contains a broad and deep list of resources for people to explore in their own path toward racial understanding."
McDaniel also had a few words to offer, "For the past five years, it has been a pleasure and an honor working with Gary, in establishing what is regarded as one of The Episcopal Church’s shining examples of what the ministry of reconciliation looks like. During the early days, we literally toured the nation, often at our own expense, seeking out examples of best practices for ministry that would yield tangible results in our diocese. At times we were discouraged by any pushback we received, but remained ever mindful of Matthew 11:28-30 where Jesus said: 'My yoke is easy and my burden is light.' We persevered knowing that we were striving to do the holy work to which we had been called.
Today, the tangible results of that perseverance and unyielding faith speak for itself. As Valerie has pointed out, the commission is composed of individuals who are just as committed to the ministry of reconciliation as Gary and I were when we began this journey. Today our programmatic offerings have something for everyone. No matter where you are on your journey, we are prepared to meet you at that place.
I welcome our new co-chair, Valerie, and I remain excited by the possibilities that lay ahead for our commission’s ministry. We will continue to do great things together, ever mindful of our baptismal covenant to 'respect the dignity of every person.'"