O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. —from Evensong at Diocesan Convention, November 17, 2017
This year, I had the honor of serving as a delegate to the convention of the Diocese of North Carolina, joining the other parishes and ministries of our diocese to fellowship, worship, discuss and prioritize the way forward together. I’d like to share some snapshots of this year’s convention, entitled “Becoming Beloved Community.”
Thursday evening, our diocesan historiographer, the Reverend Dr. Brooks Graebner, and the Reverend Jemonde Taylor from St. Ambrose, Raleigh, presented “One Great Fellowship of Love?” which outlined the history of black people in our diocese. While our diocese appeared progressive in writings and speeches of the time, the reality of how they were treated was much less progressive.
On Friday, the Right Reverend Sam Rodman preached about “Becoming Beloved Community” in four steps: Tell the truth; Repair the breach; Proclaim the dream; Practice the way of love. Then, our own rector, the Reverend Ollie Rencher, moderated a panel of five (including Tony Craghead, also from St. Peter’s) who addressed questions about how prejudice touched their lives and how they responded in faith.
On Saturday, Bishop Rodman began his pastoral address by reminding us that “unity is very, very, very, very hard.” and then suggested five priorities to “Become Beloved Community.” 1) Engage in truth-telling; understanding that truth is messy. 2) Support vulnerable congregations. 3) Collaborate in mission—like our Galilee Ministries in East Charlotte. 4) Lifelong formation—intergenerational, relationship-based. 5) Reconnect to the land.
If you would like to read a more robust summary of this year’s convention, including videos, please go to the website of the Diocese of NC, by clicking here. You will also find details regarding resolutions passed by the body and committee members elected for various diocesan positions.
Thank you for honoring me with the privilege to represent St. Peter’s Episcopal Church this year.
Amy Dillon King, Convention Delegate