– Hi, I’m Bishop Brian. I have a couple updates with our work on Becoming Beloved Community that I want to share with you. This past Monday evening, we completed what was a three-week conversation with Greg Garrett, the author of “A Long, Long Way.” Greg’s book looks at Hollywood and racism. And for the past three Monday evenings, a group of us gathered in conversation with Greg and each other to consider the films mentioned in this book and how narrative shapes us in positive and negative ways. I commend Greg’s book to you.
I also want you to know on January 9th, the Becoming Beloved Community taskforce is sponsoring a half-day presentation from the Racial Equity Institute based in Greensboro, North Carolina. Your task force has already participated in this presentation, and after having experienced it ourselves, we wanted to offer it to the whole diocese. There are up to 200 slots available on that day. At the end of this video, you’ll see both some affirmation of this work from John Ross and from Sylvia Peters and also how to register for yourself.
In particular, I would encourage vestries and lay leaders, EFM groups, outreach groups to consider being a part of this half-day presentation on January 9th, from nine to noon. It looks at data, it’s very much a data-driven presentation on how racism impacts us in all kinds of ways, in ways that we can’t even begin to understand, to look at data around healthcare, disparity and various outcomes. Realizing that James Baldwin in the early 60’s talked about not everything that we face can be changed, but nothing can be changed until we face it. So my hope is my prayer that in looking at this data, it’s sobering data, but it will call us to say, what can we do differently? How can we be a different kind of people after knowing what we know from looking at this data? I commend the day to you, January 9th from nine to noon.
Also want to update you in East Tennessee. Right now there’s encouraging news across the country and across the world around COVID-19 vaccines as they begin to roll out to healthcare workers and then beyond. But we’re also living in a time of rising numbers in East Tennessee and across the state. So the diocesan house over the next several weeks, we will move back towards mostly working from home, continuing to do our work but to do that remotely. I would encourage you to continue to look at parish plans for how you’re gathering to really focus on safety. We’re in a time where there’s much encouraging news but many, many people continue to be impacted directly and indirectly by COVID. So continue to take utmost care. Be wise, knowing that the COVID-19 guidelines offered by your task force, solve, pause, time, solid potential to go backwards. So we want to continue to be safe as we stay connected through prayer, through Zoom, through a variety of ways safely. So know that we were taking this seriously. I want to encourage you to do the same.
Finally, as we do face the end of 2020, continue to make plans for the 2021 Diocesan convention. You’ll continue to hear more about how we will do that virtually and stay connected as communities in Christ in this time. It is a joy to be your bishop. It’s a joy to be a part of this work, knowing that God continues to do a new thing through this church, amen.