Hi, I’m Bishop Brian. I want to speak to you today about an upcoming event here in the Diocese of East Tennessee and an invitation to join in that event and in the work of storytelling and sharing of stories in our diocese. While February is Black History Month, we realize that the story of Black history is more than a month. It is our story. It’s an American story. It’s a church history story. And on March 7th at 5:00 pm, at Ascension Church in Knoxville, a group of us from the task force for Becoming Beloved Community will gather to tell stories, to hear from each other stories about our truth as it relates to race and racism.
The work of Becoming Beloved Community is a work of truth-telling, it’s a work of the doing of justice, and it’s a work of healing. But before we can move to healing and reconciliation, before we can be clear on what is the justice work necessary, we have to start with the truth. We have to hear from each other our stories of how race and racism have impacted us and wounded us, knowing that it wounds all of us. It’s not simply a Black wound or a White wound. It’s a wound for all of us.
And so we will gather this Sunday at five o’clock, March 7th at Ascension Knoxville. It will be live-streamed. So myself, Sylvia Peters from Ascension Knoxville, Glenn Bowden from St. John’s Cathedral Knoxville, and Sinead Doherty from Good Samaritan Knoxville, all members of our task force, will gather and tell stories. In the telling of those stories, we hope to model for others how your story could also be included in this archive of recordings. We would love you to share those in your parishes, share those with us so we can put them on the diocesan website, and to get a sense of what is our story of race, what is our story of racism? How has it shaped us? How has it wounded us? How have we overcome those stories? Too often in the life of the church, while we can be a significant force for good, a significant voice for justice, too often the history of the church has also been infected by racism.
So a part of telling that story is also our work at this time. It’s a work we can do together. It’s a work that we can do with mercy, with courage, with care for each other, to create space to listen and to learn, and to allow our eyes to be opened, and to allow our minds to be changed, and to allow for the truth to be present and to shine in this world, not to hide it, not to be ashamed of it, but to share the wound in order to heal the wound. Join us this Sunday, March 7th at 5:00 pm, and be a part of this telling of stories in order to seek justice and to be committed to true healing, to be a people of Becoming Beloved Community. Thank you.