• Trinity Voices

From the Historian: “Come and See” Exhibit and “Praying for our American Life” Service

Cynthia Staples
September 22, 2021

Dear Trinity Church and friends,


“Come and see.”


It was an invitation.


“Come and see.”


That is what the angel said to Mary Magdalene and her friends on Easter morning as they stood before an empty tomb.


“Come and see,” said the angel, offering companionship and hope.


All of us need companionship and hope as we move into “The Life of the World to Come,” our Program Year’s frame of our walk together in this time. And as we move forward, we recognize the necessity of understanding and acknowledging our past, both as individuals and as a parish. We view this history-taking as an essential, lifelong practice, one we approach with humility, recognizing that we will one day be the history our successors consider.


The murder of George Floyd brought renewed attention to the legacy of racism in this country, both that which we face today, and that which we inherit from our history. We at Trinity Church in the City of Boston are choosing to explore our congregation’s complicity in racism and how we have benefitted, and continue to benefit, from the slave economy. My monthly letters intend to express this commitment and share important stories we may not have heard before.


I also serve as a member of The Task Force on Justice and Reparations, which will sunset in November, with its report to be shared in the months thereafter.  Between now and then, the Task Force has prepared an exhibit – entitled “Come and See” – continuing our history-taking in the spirit of the Easter angel’s welcome: inviting members of the parish and the broader Boston community to “Come and See” our truth, offering companionship in the midst of grief, and hope in the midst of suffering.


Opening this Sunday, September 26, and located in the lower level of the Parish House, the exhibit uses words, images, and numbers to narrate the history of slavery and the slave economy in New England, highlighting connections to Trinity Church.  Looking into this history is a wall of inspiring icons and artwork depicting the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who are martyrs and heroes of our faith, from Hebrew Testament times, through the ministry of Jesus, and into our own day.


The Task Force intends to build upon the ongoing ministry of Trinity’s Anti-Racism Team (“ART”).  Commissioned in 2009, the ART “examines our own individual, institutional, and cultural racism that perpetuates a state of inequity and division in our society, and promotes understanding and action for deep healing and true transformation, viewing this ministry as part of God's work.”


In addition to the exhibit, the Anti-Racism Team has prepared and will host a prayer service on the West Porch on Saturday, October 2, at 11 am.  Entitled, “Praying for our American Life: Now and in the World to Come,” the Team invites all to join them “as evidence of our faith in God and the promise of America. These are dark and difficult times that can only be transcended with the power of hope, the strength of justice, and the intergenerational exchange of wisdom and vitality. Let us gather strength and recommit to creating a new vision for America, where the scars of the past are healed with God’s righteousness and the beloved community becomes our heaven on earth.”


Pre-registration will not be required for the October 2 service, and all are welcome.


On Thursdays and Fridays, the “Come and See” exhibit will be open during our Visitor Services hours (10 am – 4:30 pm), with no pre-registration required.  On Sundays September 26 and October 3, and on Saturday, October 2 (the day of the prayer service), we do ask for pre-registration to ensure the safety of all.  Please click here to reserve your space.  Masks are required at all times while indoors.


Come and see, and come and pray, and let us learn and love together.


Until next month,