At every baptism and every renewal of our vows to live out our faith, we promise to work for justice and peace in the world. The celebrant asks, “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?’
And the people respond, “I will with God’s help.”
This is our calling to social justice on behalf of all people, every human being. It is a tall order, and we are only able to do it with God’s help.
We Are Called by Love
to Social Justice
Sometimes we shy away from the work of social justice because it confronts the status quo and challenges the power structures that have been in place for generations.
Sometimes we are uncomfortable when our faith intersects with the pain of the oppressed and we must leave the safety of our pews and journey into the danger of the streets.
Sometimes people reject social justice, “I don’t come to church to deal with this political stuff, I come to church for peace and comfort.”
Social Justice is hard work and we are called to do it,
not for political ideologies, but because of love.
How is God calling you to join us in the work of respecting the dignity of every human being and striving for justice and peace in the world?
Social Justice at All Saints’ – taking up the work of Anti-Racism
We have become painfully aware that racism impacts those who are the most vulnerable in our communities: black, immigrant, and people of color (BIPOC) because of our deepening relationships, the unequal impact of the viral pandemic, and the public execution of George Floyd .
Our Vestry’s Anti-Racism Statement
While all of these injustices were present before the summer of 2020, they are now more visible to more people and we cannot look away.
The work of anti-racism has shifted from the focus of a small group of committed people, to the heart of our leadership and the whole church “doing what love requires” as Christians in the world.
Developing Diverse Relationships:
The worshiping community of members of All Saints’ is a predominantly white community. While this is not unusual for most Episcopal Churches and often, worshiping communities are segregated by skin color or ethnic background, we do not want this to be the future of our church. Relationships with a diversity of people make us more reflective of the Body of Christ. We cannot do the work of anti-racism without real loving relationships.
Love your Neighbor, Fight Racism – Thursday Night Conversations
between Asbury and All Saints (and now on zoom with the wider Frederick Community)
In 2014 Asbury United Methodist and All Saints’ Epsicopal produced an event that shared the story of slavery, emancipation, and how these two congregations are linked by the relationship between slave owners and the enslaved. This collaborative work and commitment to uncover the truth developed deep relationships and planted the seeds for a more robust connection in the future. In 2018 a small group within All Saints’, upon learning about the legacy of racism and slavery, stepped forward to ask for an opportunity to meet together and talk about racism in Frederick and our vaious experiences of it. This began a tentative gathering of people in the basement of Asbury on a monthly basis to watch a video and share our responses and questions generated by the video.
This practice of gathering monthly for an evening of conversation continued until the pandemic began. We moved our conversations to zoom and then George Floyd was murdered and we had a deeper need to gather for conversation and to take action. Our monthly gatherings turned into weekly conversations on zoom every Thursday at 7pm. This pattern has held steady with our group expanding to include members of the Frederick community who are not connected with the worshipping communities of All Saints’ and Asbury, but are committed to the work of anti-racism. You may join us any Thursday night on zoom
At the 2020 gathering of the Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Church we unanimously voted to engage in the work of reparations in our diocese.
RESOLVED, that this 236th Convention of the Diocese of Maryland encourages and affirms the creation of a reparations fund by the Diocesan Council with an initial seed investment of $1,000,000 from diocesan resources to the work of reparations. The Diocesan Council will ensure sound fiscal management and administration of the fund and its use in coordination with the committee appointed for such work; and be it further
RESOLVED, that this 236th Convention of the Diocese of Maryland urges all congregations and affiliated schools in the diocese to prayerfully consider committing a percentage of their endowments or other resources to this fund. Percentages would be determined by each congregation and affiliated school independently; and be it further
RESOLVED, that this 236th Convention of the Diocese of Maryland urges the Diocesan Council to intentionally foster opportunities to engage in racial, reconciliation, restitution and restoration arising from the Diocese of Maryland’s complicity in supporting the practice of chattel slavery and the legacy of immense harm caused by systemic and institutional racism which continues today.
At the conclusion of our book study on “How To Be An Anti-Racist”, September 2020, the group decided that All Saints’ needed to seriously engage the work of reparations, not only by contributing to the diocesan fund but also discovering what we are called to repair in Frederick, Maryland.
This small group is beginning the work of reparations within the structure of community organizing. We are making one-to-one conversations with various BIPOC people in our community to learn what their interest is in the work of reparations. As a predominately white church community, we lack the insight and awareness of where our community is wounded and what needs repair. The only way we will learn what action we are called to take is by aligning ourselves with the people who are deeply affected by those wounds. We must listen to and allow our friends to lead us out of blindness and into sight.