- Parish news
Task Force on Justice and Reparations Presentations
Dear Trinity Church and Friends,
Easter greetings! We hope this message finds you and yours well.
As announced at our Annual Parish Meeting in February, the Task Force on Justice and Reparations will present its work for the next three Sundays, May 1, 8, and 15. Originally scheduled for January of this year, we twice moved the presentations as the Omicron variant had its way with Boston. Current plans call for the Task Force to publish its report – inclusive of this three-session experience – in June.
We feel strongly that the faithful, loving labor of accounting the anti-Black racism in our parish’s history and present (May 1); of sharing hopes for reparation (May 8); and of engaging one another about what we have heard and learned (May 15); is embodied work. While Zoom has made possible meaningful connections for us during the pandemic, these sessions will not be livestreamed, and we ask you to make your plans to attend in person. In support of these presentations’ priority and importance, we will forego our customary participation in the Walk for Hunger and Mother's Day Walk for Peace.
So that we can benefit from projected images and improved sound, all three sessions will convene in the Forum. As we have for Children’s Homily and Church School, we will open the windows and our HVAC dampers to maximize the introduction of fresh air into that space. Even so, we ask that attendees remain masked at all times inside the building. For our small-group conversations on May 15, we hope that pandemic conditions (and the weather) will allow us to meet maskless in breakout groups around campus.
These presentations continue a longer journey toward the Gospel transformation of our parish and world. Building on the continuing work of our Anti-Racism Team, the Task Force has explored the anti-Black racism wrought in our community-facing countenances and endowment, including our treasured buildings, their architecture, and their artwork. Confronting our history and identifying the repentances required, the Task Force has examined our parish’s indebtedness to wealth accumulated from profits of the slave trade, as well as any continuing investments that betray our Gospel intentions.
The Task Force’s early work made clear the need for us to ensure continuity of these devotions, resulting in the call of Cynthia Staples as our parish Historian. In her full-time role, Cynthia’s work has been deeply meaningful and important. In addition to her regular “From the Historian” columns, many – perhaps most – of you will have taken in the powerful “Come and See” exhibit in the undercroft hallway, which collects the Task Force’s study and her research. Another benefit of our downstairs location for these programs, we encourage everyone to take time and pray the installation – encountering the key moments and players in Trinity’s early history as a leading religious institution in a city whose economy was built around the slave trade in all its dimensions, and taking heart in the martyrs and heroes of color who stare across the hall into our history.
Building on his Easter Sunday sermon, Morgan will preach Sundays May 8 and May 15, distinguishing the ministry of anti-racism in the context of a parish church from the related work in secular institutions. In addition to the commitment, we invite you to share with us for these formational sessions, we urge you to recognize the inextricable connection between these presentations and our prayers. We hope you will also make plans to join us for worship for these three Sundays. Our continuing increase as a Beloved Community depends upon our praying and communing together as a congregation; to participate in only one or the other offering will leave our whole Body diminished.
Finally, we give thanks for the Task Force’s membership – Barbara Dortch-Okara; Nien-hê Hsieh; the Rev. Tom Kennedy; Peter Lawrence; Marva Nathan; Jill Norton; Chris Parris; and Cynthia Staples – as well as their Co-Chairs, Constance Perry and Steve Hendrickson. With Constance and Steve’s inspiring leadership moving the work ahead, this cohort has met regularly for nearly two years, despite pandemic headwinds. These companions have labored faithfully and so very well on your behalf.
With the Hope of Easter,
The Rev. Morgan S. Allen