St. Columba’s Antiracism Task Force
In early 2021, the St. Columba’s Antiracism Task Force was convened by the Vestry and rector of St. Columba’s, as an expression of the church’s belief that becoming antiracist as individuals and as a church is integral to Jesus’ summary of the greatest commandment, our own baptismal covenant, and St. Columba’s vision to Live God’s Love. This group of volunteer parishioners was charged with guiding the rector and Vestry in their commitment to integrating this intention of becoming antiracist into every facet of our congregational life.
What has the Antiracism Task Force been doing?
Since then, the Task Force has been on a journey of faith, learning, and discernment. We have sought the input of the entire parish through listening sessions, a parish-wide survey, Sunday forum events, and individual conversations. We have engaged with the diocese on diocese-wide and church-wide justice and equity issues. We have connected with ministries and leadership within the church. Through all of this, we have worked to live up to the charge given to us: to provide leadership and guidance as St. Columba’s begins to honor our commitment to antiracism.
How will St. Columba’s live out our commitment to antiracism?
The St Columba’s Antiracism Task Force has developed a Strategy for Antiracism that provides guidance and structure for our work together, allowing us to grow and to hold ourselves and each other accountable in our commitment to antiracism. Endorsed by the Vestry and clergy of St. Columba’s, this plan lays the groundwork for all of us – as individuals, as parishioners, and as members of the community – to participate in this work.
We believe that we are called to renounce and resist racism in all aspects of our life and to actively work toward the Beloved Community.We commit ourselves to antiracism as individuals, as a church, and as members of our community. Through this work, we will:
●Integrate antiracism into faith development for all ages and into St. Columba’s programs and ministries;
●Deeply commit and engage across the entire parish in dismantling racism in our community, in our homes, and in our church;
●Be better equipped to identify and have conversations about issues of racism;
●Welcome and embrace all people and build longer-term partnerships in the broader community;
●Make a difference in the lives of others, and
●Continually invite one another into this work and commit to hold ourselves accountable to live our values and reflect the Beloved Community.
We invite you to explore the full strategy and to consider the history, principles, and specific opportunities for participation and engagement that we are building together.
What comes next?
Over the coming months, the Antiracism Task Force will share information and resources with members of the parish, ministry leaders, and beyond, inviting people to consider the meaning of becoming antiracist in their personal lives and within the life of the church and community. We will engage with ministry leaders to support them as they seek to integrate antiracism into the church’s ministries. And please be on the lookout for future communications around ways you can learn more and take part in this work, through education and upcoming events.
Our work is ongoing, much in the same way practicing Christianity and living God’s Love is ongoing. We encourage you to be curious, to reflect, to engage these serious and hard questions and issues with an open spirit, and to find the potential for joy and abundance that comes from striving to be antiracist. This is a journey that we are all on, individually and collectively, not an event to attend or a box to check or a goal to achieve. Please join us!
Have more questions and ideas?
We want to hear from you! Please email us at [email protected] to share your thoughts.
Antiracism Task Force Members
Kesha Evans, co-chair
Lane Heard, co-chair
Laura Akowuah | Peter Lynch | Lauren Counts | Katharine Huffman | Bill Jensen | Jeremiah Williams | Patty Jensen
Cami Caudill, Missioner for Community Engagement
Abigail Gorman, Senior Warden, ex officio
Ledlie Laughlin, Rector, ex officio
For more information about our work and how this work began, please take a look at our charter in which Ledlie and the Vestry defined our mission. We also encourage you to read or watch Ledlie’s original sermon regarding his vision for St. Columba’s as a church that lives God’s love by being antiracist.