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A Covenant for Dismantling Racism, Advancing Racial Justice and Building Beloved Community in Europe

A Covenant for Dismantling Racism, Advancing Racial Justice and Building Beloved Community in Europe

Racism is a sin. It disrupts the harmony and oneness that God intends for humanity. Racism is dangerous, divisive and damaging. Racism destroys dignity and disregards the image and likeness of God found in every human being. We are created in the image of God; therefore, to engage in racism in any form is to refuse to acknowledge the image of God in the other; and to deny or ignore the truth of racism and the pain and damage it causes, is to subvert the love of Jesus. We, the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe—parishes, missions and individuals —denounce and reject racism. We also strongly renounce all forms of supposed supremacy, especially the scourge of White supremacy. Called and challenged by God, we seek to create Beloved Community, working to increase hope by dismantling the sin of racism, learning to understand and own our part in what has gone before by commission or omission, acting with courage to stand up and speak out as we move beyond ourselves to serve Christ and one another.

As people of faith, we acknowledge our sins and our failure to respect the dignity of every human being. We have, individually and corporately, fallen short of the glory of God, and now call to mind and name the aspects of our lament.

• We lament the Church’s role in history in the subjugation, enslavement and genocide of peoples around the world.

• We lament the Church’s role in history in profiting from the selling, trading and mistreatment of our fellow human beings.

• We lament the Church’s complicity-by-silence in the commoditization, dehumanization, abuse, belittling, exclusion and denial of civil rights of immigrants and other marginalized people.

• We lament the Church’s complicity in failing to honor the language, culture, and civil rights of all people.

• We lament the Church’s lack of moral courage to stand with and on the side of the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed.

• We lament the systems, whether structural or informal, of White superiority and privilege present in the Church that have condoned people being viewed as less, inferior, or unworthy rather than as beloved children of God, made in the image of the Divine.

• We lament the ways in which the stories of People of Color have been diminished or erased from the histories of our churches, institutions, and communities of faith.

• We lament the collusion of the Church with systems that directly and indirectly promote racism, oppression, segregation, and disenfranchisement.

• We lament the willful blindness of Christian leadership in failing to advocate for fair, non-violent policing, mediation, non-custodial sentencing, and adequate pay, social services support, medical care, mental health, and addiction treatment for people struggling in society.

• We lament the resounding silence and the crippling fear that often infects the Church in matters of racial reconciliation and social justice.

As people of faith, we are called to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul and with all our mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.” Recognizing the places in which the Church and people of faith have fallen short of God’s love, particularly in the legacy of racism and White supremacy, we repent and seek to amend our lives to more fully reflect God’s dream of Beloved Community. Accordingly, following Jesus and trusting the power of the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to the sustained and arduous work of dismantling racism, advancing racial justice, and building Beloved Community in Europe.

• We covenant to meditate on the life and teachings of Jesus, who restores us to right relationship with God, one another and ourselves.

• We covenant to re-examine the history of our communities of faith and institutions to, in tangible ways, acknowledge racist legacies and to recognize, remember, and retell the stories of enslaved persons and other People of Color, whose labor contributed to White privilege.

• We covenant to engage our communities of faith and experts in critical discourse that propels us forward.

• We covenant to devise and implement standards, policies, and programs that make our commitment to diversity and inclusion a visible reality.

• We covenant to support local businesses that are owned and operated by People of Color, and underrepresented and marginalized populations.

• We covenant to listen to and to validate the stories, experiences, and feelings of People of Color as companions along the journey, valuing those experiences as being sacred.

• We covenant to work towards the dismantling of systems of institutional oppression.

• We covenant to stand up and speak out against everyday acts of oppression or aggression and denial of civil liberties.

• We covenant to educate ourselves, and share with others, the many places where our privilege blinds us from being compassionate to others.

• We covenant to call out bigotry and hate speech in all aspects of our common life.

• We covenant to gather with others, including faith leaders and decision makers, at all levels of the church, to ask the hard questions:

‣ Does the leadership of our institution reflect the diversity of those we serve?

‣ Are the many faces of the diverse body of Christ represented in decision-making processes?

‣ How are we inviting and forming leaders?

‣ Who is missing around the table?

‣ Whose untold story do we need to hear?

• We covenant that in our corporate worship and other activities of our communities to intentionally cultivate welcome, hospitality, and participation for people of all cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds, and to include their rich musical and liturgical offerings in worship.

• We covenant to engage each other in and across our faith communities to listen, reflect on and seek a better understanding of racism, privilege, and supposed supremacy of any kind.

• We covenant to pray together for an end to racism, privilege, and supposed supremacy of any kind.

• We covenant to join with local community organizations in working for healing, restoration, reconciliation and racial justice.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. —John 15:12-13. 

Adopted by act of Convention • October 24, 2020