August 15: Stepping onto Sacred Ground

From the Rector
Stepping onto Sacred Ground

There is no question that much will be written in history books about the year 2020. My hope is that alongside the reflections on a world shut down by the coronavirus, future generations will also read about a world that woke up and made substantial, live-giving movement in the service of racial justice. Over the last few weeks, I've been returning again and again to the parting words of elder in the faith and statesman John Lewis. He wrote that in the last days and hours of his life, you inspired him. He wrote that you filled him with hope for what is coming for America when "you used your power to make a difference in our society." Given the brutality this man faced all throughout his life, I find it remarkable that he would end his days pointing us still in the direction of hope, and trusting yet in the God-given capacity for change and good that resides in us all. I found his words both humbling and deeply motivating.
I have already witnessed a hunger and a readiness in this congregation to dig in, to discern, and to give ourselves to the call for working for racial justice in the Church and in the wider community. No doubt this can take many and varied forms: service and advocacy, prayer and art, listening deeply and getting into what Lewis calls "good trouble." After taking in the letter from the Northern California/Vivian Traylor Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians, which Bishop Marc asked to be read in every congregation of this diocese, a team of leaders at Resurrection began to discern how we might begin to respond together in this place. 
To that end, we are really excited to share that we will be launching Sacred Ground here at Resurrection this fall. An offering of the Episcopal Church, the creators describe it this way: "Sacred Ground is a film- and readings-based dialogue series on race, grounded in faith. Small groups are invited to walk through chapters of America's history of race and racism, while weaving in threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity." I have heard phenomenal and inspiring reports from colleagues and friends across the church who have already begun engaging the Sacred Ground series, and I feel hopeful that it will offer us the framework and material to take a deep dive together: into our shared history, into our sacred stories, and into the stories of our own lives, as they are all intertwined. 
On a practical level, the series will happen in small groups over Zoom, with ten sessions meeting roughly every three weeks, hopefully beginning in September. Once we have a sense of who wants to take part, we'll work on figuring out meeting times and the like. There will be things to read and watch between sessions, which explore Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories, as they intersect with European American histories, helping us to "peel away the layers that have contributed to the challenges and divides of the present day - all while grounded in our call to faith, hope and love." This series is explicitly not anti-racism training, nor does it direct us toward taking specific actions once we have finished. My hope and prayer, though, is that it will serve to connect us with one another, with our shared histories, and with our community, and that it will ground us in growing trust, all that we may then listen for where God is calling us next, together.
If you are interested in participating in Sacred Ground, please fill out this form. I am eager to begin this journey of learning and reflection with many of you. Know that you're in my prayers as you consider taking this on - I recognize that it is a significant commitment of both time and heart, and I am grateful for your courage as you discern.

Monday Bible Study Continues!
After our experiment with Bible study by Zoom this last month, we've decided to keep going - it's been a wonderful weekly downbeat to connect and reflect. Join us on Mondays at noon for an hour of conversation about the coming week's readings -- bring your lunch if you like, and a readiness to dig in together. What leaves you scratching your head? What have you always wondered about? How do these stories connect with your life right now? We will probably gather more questions than answers, and leave with plenty to ponder until we hear the same lessons again six days later. Contact the office for the Zoom link.

Zoom Coffee Hour 
Come together on Sundays to check in with one another, hear how everyone is doing, and just enjoy seeing each other's faces! We gather at around 11:30 on Sunday mornings, so you'll have time to get a treat and pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee. Contact the office for the Zoom link.

Project Peace: Digital Days of Service
Project Peace is a wonderful nonprofit in the East Bay that works for biblical justice by activating a network of churches to serve and sustain their local communities. They host days of service throughout the year, which we hope to take part in together in the future. Because of the pandemic, the next day of service can't happen as planned, but they are offering some other great options. Project Peace is launching Digital Days of Service with a focus on "Sustaining the Journey". Beginning August 6th, they will be kicking off a month of online opportunities to equip and encourage volunteers to engage with biblical justice for the long haul, including:
- Historical prayers on key local justice issues
- Wisdom on sustainability from seasoned community
- A range of service options (in-person and online) 

To take part, 
  • Follow Project Peace on Instagram and Facebook to receive Digital Days of Service updates.
  • Subscribe to their newsletter to receive full details of the campaign.