Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Where We Are - Where We Can Be: An Anti-Racism Audit for Congregations

An excerpt from the letter sent out with the audit below.
February 29, 2008

Dear friends in Christ,

We are writing you because you participated in a Diocese of North Carolina Anti-Racism Training or because you are a leader in the diocese’s new Companions in Mission project in your local congregation and community.

The enclosed resource is for your use in your congregation as a follow-up to the anti-racism training or as part of your ongoing work as a Companions congregation.

The resource, a one-page Anti-Racism Congregation Audit: Where We Are–Where We Can Be, is an adaptation by our Anti-Racism Committee (ARC) of longer audits used by our own Church and by other denominations in the U.S.

1. Please use the resource as you see fit. There are many ways to use it. You do not have to use all the questions at once. You may want to use the audit in a vestry meeting, with your youth group, in a women’s or men’s group, in a Sunday education forum, in liturgy planning or in the work of a worship committee or seasonal planning committee, in a meeting about outreach and mission, in communal prayer, in staff meetings, or in finance committee meetings.

2. Do you need help, either with this or with other follow-up to the Anti-Racism Training? Please contact us. We are here to assist you, learn from you, and walk with you:

The Coordinator for Training is Martha Waters.
The Coordinator for Companions in Mission is Bishop Chip Marble.
The ARC Chair is Jane Redmont.
The ARC Vice Chair is Deidre Crumbley.
The part-time Administrative Coordinator is Liz Reilley (till the end of May, but the address and position will continue after that)

3. Give us feedback. We’d love to hear how you have used the audit and what your experiences with it have been. They don’t have to be easy or positive for you to report on them. We recognize this is deep and patient work.

....Remember that we have a blog for the Anti-Racism Committee and its friends. Its name is Race, Justice, and Love. It was dormant for a couple of months but it is active again, and you are welcome to visit, read, leave comments, and engage in conversation! And, of course, feel very welcome to send us resources and reports from your own congregation and community if you are willing for them to appear on the blog....

The purpose of the enclosed audit is to examine how we can be true to our baptismal covenant, seeing others with the eyes of Christ, encountering each other as made in God’s image, walking in the healing and challenging power of the Holy Spirit.

In this season of Lent, we wish you peace, and we look forward to continuing to work with you.

Anti-Racism Congregation Audit

Where We Are - Where We Can Be

The purpose of this audit is for us –laypersons and clergy in each congregation— to examine where we are in being true to our baptismal covenant and “respecting the dignity of every human being.” These questions are meant to provide a guideline for us to explore where we are now in being open to all – and in particular, in resisting racism– and where we can make improvements.

1. How often are members of racial/ethnic groups not of the majority included in leadership in our congregation? How might we include them if we are not doing so on a regular basis?

2. How often are challenges of racial and social justice presented in sermons?

3. How often do we actively pray to overcome racism and social injustice during regular worship services?

4. How might we expand the sources of our worship services to be more inclusive? (e.g. Supplemental Liturgical texts, LEVAS hymnal)

5. How and how often does our congregation celebrate or commemorate special Sundays and feast days on the church calendar that emphasize the contributions of people of all racial and ethnic groups?

6. What educational experiences do we offer to deal with issues of racism and cultural diversity?

7. Do we partner with other congregations or faith communities for projects, mission work, youth or adult activities? Are any of these partners of a different racial or ethnic group?

8. What indications do we have in our signs, advertisements, website and other aspects of our public face that all people are welcome at our congregation? Does our public face reflect the diversity of the church? Do our images and icons look like the multicolored faces of all God’s people?

9. What small steps could we take immediately to be more inclusive of all groups?

10. Does our congregation make efforts to use vendors and contractors of color and to work with businesses owned by persons of color?

11. Where do we want our congregation to be in relation to this work a year from now? Where do we want to be five years from now?

12. How can we begin to address some of the larger manifestations of racism in our church and in the world?

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