The focus of the Social Justice Ministry at St. Peter’s is on fair and equitable laws, measures, and policy reforms which promote systemic change and the benefits of a just society for individuals and groups, especially those who have been historically underrepresented or discriminated against. Our activities are geared toward providing education, information, and training to better equip those who wish to change their own behaviors as well as advocate for policies and practices that promote equal opportunity and equitable treatment. The following pillars help to organize the focus of our ministry, understanding that because of intersectionality, no pillar is mutually exclusive.
Affordable Housing and Economic Disparity
Affordable Housing and Economic Disparity is focused on helping members understand how years of government policies around housing have led to racial segregation and ultimately, to the current affordable housing crisis and economic disparity that our nation and city are struggling to address. Through education, the hope is that members can become effective advocates to help drive the changes that are needed to begin making progress. Income inequality, lack of affordable healthcare, and school re-segregation, are examples of disparate and inequitable outcomes that exist because of sanctioned policies and practices around housing.
Racial Justice and Reconciliation
Racial Justice and Reconciliation is a priority of the National Episcopal Church and helps us achieve the goal of Becoming the Beloved Community. It advocates for the dignity of every human being and focuses on bridge-building in providing one-on-one and structured experiences to help parishioners become more comfortable in doing the following: 1. go deeper in explorations about the racial identity of themselves and people who are different from them, 2. assume responsibility for doing their own “race work,” 3. become more comfortable in using their power, privilege, platforms, and networks to say “no” to inequality.
Assuring Democracy / Voting Rights
Assuring Democracy/Voting Rights monitors and provides information to the parish about protecting our democracy in such areas as voting rights, fair elections and voter engagement, and the effect of laws and policies that dilute the power of our vote. It partners with non-partisan organizations to engage parishioners in ways to advocate for and assist with voter rights protection and access. It provides information about voting and voter rights initiatives between worship services and at coffee hour; and hosts film nights and/or discussion forums with leaders on issues relevant to assuring democracy.
Immigrant and Refugee Support
Immigrant and Refugee Support is organized around welcoming the stranger and advocating for a humane and proportional immigration system. The ministry of welcoming immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers includes walking with them as they begin their new lives in our communities and advocating for immigration policies that protect families from separation, offer meaningful access to citizenship, and embracing the dignity of every human being. All are invited to join efforts to speak out for immigrant and refugee protection and systemic welcome.
Gender Equality and LGBTQ Inclusion
Gender Equality and LGBTQ Inclusion is focused on taking a positive stance against discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. Gender equality as well as a person’s sexual orientation are fundamental human rights which should be protected under federal as well as local municipalities. The goal is to increase visibility of the issues facing women and the LGBTQ community as well as participating in programs and events which help celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance. We stand stand side-by-side with those who are struggling with equality and acceptance.
Ecology is the science and study of the relationships between human groups and their physical and social environment. When this green earth, our common home, is hurting, it affects all creation put into our care but especially the most vulnerable. Eco justice is a pillar of social justice because of the intersecting effects of climate change, poverty and inequality, and biodiversity loss. Along with the National Episcopal church, we pledge to educate, advocate, and act for the environment; stand with those who are most vulnerable; and personally live more gently on the Earth. Because pollutants caused by human activity now threaten the delicate balance of our ecosystem with global warming, our engagement is more urgent than ever.
Call to Action: Episcopal Public Policy Network
Sign up by clicking here to join this “grassroots network of Episcopalians across the country dedicated to carrying out the Baptismal Covenant call to ‘strive for Justice and peace’ though the active ministry of public policy advocacy. This resource contains action alerts for a broad range of current legislation and policy issues. It is provided by the Office of Government Relations which represents the Episcopal Church’s public policy positions.
Join us on the journey of the parish vision “to be a place of unconditional welcome and a beacon of God’s love in the heart of Charlotte.” Members of St. Peter’s are welcome to join the Social Justice Ministry and participate in the planning, leading, or implementing of any programs or activities related to social justice issues, particularly those related to the aforementioned pillars.
The leadership team meets monthly and the meetings are open to anyone interested in addressing social justice policy issues – local, state, or national – which impact the lives of people and suggest the need for engagement. There is much to do, and we enjoy building relationships as we do it!
For more information or interest in getting involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-chairs – Gwen High & Jason Gingras