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The Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe

Start Here: Convention 2020 and Onward

A collection brought together by members of the Task Force on Racism, Reconciliation and Becoming Beloved Community, presented at the 2020 Annual Convention. Our resources include: speaker biographies, presentations, workshops, surveys, inventories, movies, books, videos, and photos.

our 2020 Convention focus area speakers:
KeyNote Speaker: Dr. Catherine Meeks

Dr.  Meeks is the Founding Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to the center's opening she chaired its precursor, Beloved Community: Commission for Dismantling Racism for the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, which organized retreats and workshops on racial/cultural diversity and spiritual development.

The core of her work has been with people who have been marginalized because of economic status, race, gender or physical ability as they pursue liberation, justice and access to resources that can help lead them to health, wellness and a more abundant life. This work grows out of her understanding of her call to the vocation of teacher as well as her realization that all of humanity is one family which God desires to unite. 

A sought-after teacher and workshop leader, Catherine brings four decades of experience to the work of transforming the dismantling racism work in Atlanta.

Catherine is the retired Clara Carter Acree Distinguished Professor of Socio -Cultural Studies from Wesleyan College and Founding Executive Director of the Lane Center for Community Engagement and Service. She characterizes herself as a midwife to the soul of her students and workshop participants. She has spent many years sharing the insights that she gained from her pursuit of the truth. She has had many great teachers including her sons, the Bible, Jungian psychology, cross cultural stories and other books of wisdom.  But her greatest teacher is rheumatoid arthritis because it has forced her to learn many new ways to listen to her body and to pay attention to the messages from her heart. 

She is frequently asked to present commentaries on Georgia Public Radio and other radio and television programs. She is the author of six books and one inspirational CD and is the editor of the bestselling book, Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America, co-author of Passionate for Justice: Ida B Wells as Prophet for Our Times, and editor of Standing on Their Shoulders: A Celebration of the Wisdom of African-American Women.  She has served as Distinguished Professor of Socio-Cultural Studies at Wesleyan College and directed the Mayor’s Youth Violence Task Force in Macon, Georgia.  Catherine holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Clark Atlanta University and PhD from Emory University. 

Keynote Speaker: The Rt. Rev. Deon Johnson

In the week following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Johnson participated in nonviolent protests in the St. Louis region. Days after the clearing of nonviolent protesters at St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., Johnson spoke at a solidarity rally at St. John’s Episcopal Church in St. Louis’ Tower Grove neighborhood.

“To find ourselves in this moment, the [descendant] of a slave, to be called to be the bishop of Missouri – God is good!” Johnson said during his ordination service. “To the people of Missouri, we have a whole new story to tell and a whole new boldness to tell it with. So I look forward to the adventure.” 

“Fear would tell us that dignity belongs to some and not to others. As followers of Jesus, we must live and know that perfect love casts out fear,” he wrote in a statement following the rally. “We must, in the words of the Prophet Micah, ‘do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.’”

Johnson spoke to the parishioners and ministers of Christ’s word in the Diocese of Missouri, calling on the community to defend the rights and the dignity of all God’s children, and seeking and serving Christ in all people—even those with whom we disagree.

“We must be about the mission of working for justice and showing God’s love in this time and place,” he said. “We must be about the mission of speaking truth to power and making no peace with oppression.”

PANELIST: The Rev. Dr. Tomas Schirrmacher

A panel speaker during the 2020 Convention, Dr. Schirrmacher vehemently writes his apology for anti-racism, insisting that there is no shred of biological evidence for different “races”, and shares how such ideas have only brought pain and strife in the past centuries. Taking a Christian perspective, he reminds us how there is no favoritism with God, and only through Anti-Racist convictions can we heal the divide in many churches and societies today. Click to read his work, Racism.

PANELIST: Dr Michaël Privot

With a degree in Oriental History and Philology and a doctorate in Languages and Letters from the University of Liège, Michaël Privot is presented by French-speaking Belgian media as an "Islamologist" and, in February 2015, “A rising figure in the representation of the Muslim community.  Privot has developed expertise in the field of Diversity and Inclusion Management and is a scientific collaborator at the Centre d’Etudes de l’Ethnicité et des Migrations, University of Liège.

He converted to Islam at the age of 19 and in 2013 co-founded Empowering Belgian Muslims.

“In 2018, I authored with the Belgian playwriter Ismaël Saidi, a totally new way of narrating the Sîra.  After having engaged for one full year with different audiences on our conclusions (with youngsters in prisons, in classrooms, with adults from all backgrounds including imams), we feel it is time to share our learning about how, as European Muslims, we can engage our communities in adopting a more reflexive approach to some elements of traditional Sîras that amount to myths and support them in redefining, rebuilding a (more cogent?) faith in the process.“

ENAR: the European Network Against Racism

Dr Michaël Privot is the Director of the European Network Against Racism. ENAR fights for anti-racist legal action across Europe. They strive for justice in many different sectors, present resources and news about EU-legal happenings, and have ways for you to get involved. Read more at https://www.enar-eu.org/

Panelist: The Rev. Yejide S. Peters

Vicar of St .Chad's, with St Mary’s and St Alkmund’s, Shrewsbury, Mother Yejide is a New York City native who grew up in East Harlem, was the Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Briarcliff Manor, New York until called to her new position in Shrewsbury last year, moving from the banks of the River Hudson to rural Shropshire. 

Yejide is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University.  After college, she worked with homeless families as a National Service Volunteer with AmeriCorps, and says that changed the course of her life, opening a new world of faith and ministry.  She enjoys long walks, rowing, great food, and browsing home and garden magazines.   She is also a perennially disappointed fan of the New York Mets.

Asked about the mass unrest in America following the death of George Floyd in police custody, she told BBC Radio Shropshire about how, when she was 15, her cousin died in police custody in mysterious circumstances. Then, less than two years ago, another of her cousins, a school science teacher, died "in police action".

To quote her: "There are multiple strains in America – strains of freedom and strains of oppression ... I love my country but I am very angry and sad at the same time about what is happening. We stand for justice and freedom and love and peace. ... God is walking with those who are suffering. ... God is inspiring us to do things differently." 

The Rev. Yejide Peters is the co-founder of REPAIR: Rivertown Episcopal Parishes Action on Inclusion and Race, and a Director Emeritus of Episcopal Charities.