D002 Funding the Work of The Beloved Community

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the General Convention request that the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance allocate $5.0 million for the triennium for the implementation of additional work of organizing our efforts to respond to racial injustice and grow a Beloved Community of healers, justice makers and reconcilers for the implementation of this resolution; and be it further

Resolved, That such monies shall be utilized exclusively to make grants to agencies and dioceses and other affiliated entities of The Episcopal Church for the establishment of such programmatic activities aimed at addressing the issue of Racial Reconciliation. Such activities may include, but not be limited to, speaker series, sacred conversations, Racial Reconciliation Workshops, and other activities that promote the purposes of this resolution; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention directs, consistent with established policies and procedures, that The Executive Council be charged with the establishment of all criteria, and procedures associated with the awarding of such grants, and that such criteria and procedures be established as soon as practical, after the conclusion of this 79th General Convention such Committee or Office that Executive Council shall designate with implementation of the grants shall have published the criteria and be ready to accept applications submitted for such grants, and that the entities receiving such grants shall report back to the Committee or Office that Executive Council shall have designated on the usage of its grant, and that the Executive Council shall report back to the General Convention in 2021 on the usage of the $5.0 million allocation.

Explanation:

The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church recognized, by the adoption of Resolution 2015-C019, that, despite repeated efforts at anti-racism training as well as racial justice and racial reconciliation initiatives—including the passage of more than 30 General Convention resolutions dating back to 1952, that the abomination and sin of racism continues to plague our society and our Church at great cost to human life and human dignity.

And, in the wake of the brutal, overtly racist murders of nine of our Christian brothers and sisters of Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015; numerous inexcusable deaths of unarmed black men and youth at the hands of law enforcement personnel; and the moral atrocity of mass incarceration in which a hugely disproportionate number of persons of color have been unfairly caught in the net of an unjust criminal justice system, the 78th General Convention established as a top priority of The Episcopal Church in the upcoming triennium the challenging and difficult work of racial reconciliation through prayer, teaching, engagement, and action.

2015-C019 charged the Presiding Bishop, President of the House of Deputies, Vice President of the House of Bishops, and Vice President of the House of Deputies to lead, direct, and be present to assure and account for the Church’s work of racial justice and reconciliation. They articulated a framework for that work, entitled Becoming Beloved Community: The Episcopal Church’s Long-term Commitment to Racial Healing, Reconciliation and Justice, which directs additional work in the area of racial reconciliation.

As we head into this next triennium, we are faced with the realities of a resurgence of white supremacy, the increased normalization of personal and institutionalized fear of people of color, and overtly dehumanizing policies being enacted on refugees and immigrants—in addition to all of the injustices that prompted the 78th General Convention to pass 2015-C019.

We call upon our Church to make an investment of significant resources to hone in on and build capacity among our current and future leaders within The Episcopal Church in order to impact the practices of telling the truth, repairing the breach, practicing Jesus’ way of love, and proclaiming the dream of Beloved Community.

In order to make our commitment to Becoming Beloved Community a reality in a world that desperately needs it, local churches, dioceses, and agencies must have the resources to engage this work in their contexts. We believe that these grants will make it possible for churches, dioceses, and other agencies of The Episcopal Church to begin to live into the commitment of the Church to Becoming Beloved Community in new and life-giving ways. In the same way that communities of practice have developed from the Genesis Church Planting grants that were given in the 2015-2018 triennium, we imagine that a network of grant recipients could develop to share best practices, resources, etc. among themselves and with the whole church. Provinces and dioceses that have been unable to afford to provide the canonically mandated trainings would be able to do so. These grants could also make it possible for the development of much-needed culturally appropriate and relevant resources that could be broadly shared with the church through the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing.


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