Why have a Racial Equity Group in a Church?
"There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)
Equity is at the heart of the Gospel. Thus equity must be at the heart of our lives which we commit to living out the Gospel as individuals and as a religious community.
St.Matt's--NoHo has a history of working to build an inclusive beloved community in our church and in our community. In the 1970's and 80's, as the AIDS crisis flared in LA, we committed ourselves to working for LGBTQIA+ rights and full inclusion in the church. At the turn of the 21st century we developed a ministry for persons who are Deaf, focusing likewise on full inclusion of persons who are Deaf and Deaf culture in the life and work of the church, as well as on the rights of the Deaf and the disabled. In the past decade we have expanded our ministry of inclusion to focus on ending homelessness, promoting the wellbeing of the unhoused, and including persons from all walks of life and economic strata into the life of our congregation.
Have we been perfect in this work of inclusion? No, of course not. There is always more learning, reflection and action toward equity that we can and must take.
That is why in 2020 St. Matt's is making its commitment to racial equity explicit by establishing a long-term and sustained ministry for racial equity led by members who have formed the St. Matt's Racial Equity Group. In the wake of the George Floyd murder this summer, and the exhaustingly painful reckoning with racism that has been delayed in our nation, we believe we must now do the work that has been tabled for so long around racial equity in the church.
We don't have all the answers. We just know we need to ask the questions and act: why are we, why is our congregation, our national church the ELCA, our nation still infected with the sin of racism and inequality? What can we do about it? What are we going to do about it? Will you join with us? For the sake of the God who shows no partiality, and whose vision of justice, peace and love we are called to embody and create.--Pr. Stephanie Jaeger