Diversity and Inclusion
St. John's is committed to ending racial injustice in our community and the world.
The Episcopal Church is committed to becoming an inclusive place for everyone, through community, teachings, and mission. Historical records and current events both emphasize a need as a community to address and explicitly state how we are committed to maintaining an inclusive space in each and every ministry we touch.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s statement on May 20, 2020:
“Our long-term commitment to racial justice and reconciliation is embedded in our identity as baptized followers of Jesus. We will still be doing it when the news cameras are long gone.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the pressure cooker of a society in turmoil, a Minnesota man named George Floyd was brutally killed, stripped of his fundamental human dignity by someone charged to protect common humanity.
Yet, we need not be paralyzed by our past or our present. We are not slaves to fate but people of faith. That work of racial reconciliation and justice – what we know as Becoming Beloved Community – is happening across our Episcopal Church. That mission matters now more than ever, and it is work that belongs to all of us. It must go on when racist violence and police brutality are no longer front-page news. It must go on when the work is not fashionable, and the way seems hard, and we feel utterly alone.
It is the difficult labor of picking up the cross of Jesus like Simon of Cyrene, and carrying it until no one – no matter their color, no matter their class, no matter their caste – until no child of God is degraded and disrespected by anybody. That is God’s dream, this is our work, and we shall not cease until God’s dream is realized.”
Read the full letter here.
St. John’s is called to do this work:
St. John’s mission is to love God (Worship), love our neighbor (Outreach), and make disciples (Nurture). As we recommit to upholding inclusion and justice in our community, we are living into our mission. By making it a priority to unlearn things which have made us complicit in injustice, hurt, and pain in the world, we then learn how to more deeply love God and our neighbor. When we welcome re-education, embrace hard discussions, and share resources, we grow into disciples who are more just, loving, and merciful.
Fostering an inclusive community must be intersectional. We cannot love our neighbors if we do not love our LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, +Nonbinary persons) neighbors. We cannot love our neighbors if we do not love our Black, Brown, and Indigenous neighbors. We cannot love our neighbors if we do not love our handiCapable and or neurodiverse neighbors. We will not have all the answers right away, and will not become the perfect example overnight. However, as we can be perfectly imperfect Christians and members of the Church, we can also be perfectly imperfect learners and followers of Christ.
We must remember as members of the Episcopal Church and St. John’s, the primary message will always be: all are welcome.
We extend a special welcome to anyone single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, or dirt poor; to those who are crying newborns, skinny as a rail, or who could afford to lose a few pounds. We welcome you if you can sing like Beyonce or can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re more Catholic than the Pope or haven’t been to church since little Joey’s Baptism. We extend a special welcome to anyone over 60 but not grown up yet and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, and junk-food eaters.
We welcome those who think the world is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and she wanted to go to church today. A welcome is open to those who are inked, pierced, or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid, or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. All are welcome, including tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts, and YOU!
What the Episcopal Church is doing:
The Episcopal Church has committed to Becoming Beloved Community, which is an intent to seek truth, justice, and healing in the Church and our world as it relates to racial injustice. This is a specific and intentional response to the need for more discussion and action surrounding inclusion in the Church.
What we are doing as a community at St. John’s:
St. John’s stands with the Episcopal Church as a resource and leader in the discussion, service, and mission. At St. John’s, we commit to foster inclusive spaces and discussions in our community. We are committing to consume, utilize, and share resources for our members and neighbors. We are making an intentional decision to be mindful of the roles we play as a group and as individuals, and look forward to helping pave the way to truth, justice, and healing in our community, nation, and the world.
Resources for Individuals and Families
Anti-Racist Baby by Ibran Kendi (baby)
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz (pre-school)
A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory (elementary)
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lower (teen)
Stamped by Ibram by Jason Reynolds (young adult)
This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell (young adult)
Provided by the National Multicultural Institute, University of California-Berkeley-Diversity Terms, National Conference for Community and Justice, Oregon State University, Texas A & M University, Arizona State University – Intergroup Relations Center, and The National Center for Transgender Equality, Cleveland State University, Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Deardorff, Darla (2006) “The Identification and Assessment of Intercultural Competence as a Student Outcome of Internationalization at Institutions of Higher Education in the United States.” Journal of Studies in International Education 10:241-266, Adams, Bell and Griffin-Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice.
VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer clearly explains systemic racism, mostly for a white audience seeking to understand
Just Mercy (streaming for free on all platforms)
“The danger of a one-sided story” – TED Talk (google other Ted Talks too)
Prayer for those Flooded with too much information.(Every Moment Holy Liturgies)
Racial Reconciliation | Episcopal Church with Bishop Michael Curry
Lectures from Spring 2010 available via free video on this page. The purpose of this course is to examine the African American experience in the United States from 1863 to the present. Prominent themes include the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction; African Americans’ urbanization experiences; the development of the modern civil rights movement and its aftermath.
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, host: Emmanuel Acho
“The Episcopal Church celebrates diversity. We are young, old, male, female, gay, straight, single, married, divorced widowed, Anglo, African-American, Latino, African, Asian, CEO and unemployed, student and teacher, rich and poor. We worship together, study, and ask questions as we move more deeply into the mystery of God. We honor tradition and strive to live by the example of Jesus Christ, welcoming the stranger and outcast, helping our neighbors, and offering love and forgiveness. We want our communities to be better because the Episcopal Church is here.” – Episcopal Diocese of Texas