Updated: Feb 10
One of the things we look at this month is the life and contributions of The Rev. Absalom Jones. His commitment to the abolition of slavery as well as the plight of those living in poverty made him a hero to many and gave pause to the church communities that nurtured his devotion to Christ. Even when he was eventually rejected by the Methodist Church and then the Episcopal Church, he persisted in supporting his community and “loving like Jesus”. Fortunately for us, The Rev. Jones was eventually acknowledged and ordained through the Episcopal Church, diocese of Philadelphia. We continue to celebrate this decision on the anniversary of his death, February 13. One thing was true of his activism. It was inclusive. One of the ways we can honor his memory is to explore and implement ways in which we can be more inclusive of those among us who might be considered “other”.
I participate in the ministry of All God’s Children as an ally of those parishioners who have decided that as White people in America, they need to examine the ways in which they may have done harm to fellow human beings of color. I am awed and humbled by the work my friends have done to discover how they might love more like Jesus and live into our Baptismal covenant.
I have some thoughts about how we, at St. Catherine’s can begin a journey to greater diversity.
It seems to me that we can begin with greater diversity in our music selections during our worship. What we seem to be saying is that because the Episcopal Church was born of Anglo-Saxon roots, that is the only tradition worth acknowledging in any of our practices. If we are trying to reach out to people of different traditions, we may need to be more inclusive of those traditions in our regular practices. Music seems to me to be an achievable place to start.
Let’s be inclusive in each of our endeavors. To whom are we reaching out with our Outreach ministries? Who are we serving with our Pastoral Care, and are our methods inclusive? Are we being inclusive in our Formation programs? I can’t answer these questions, but I’m suggesting that these questions be asked and answered by all of those who are charged with carrying out these ministries. May God bless and keep you in the new year.