Becoming Beloved Community: 2018 Lenten Program Plan

Becoming Beloved Community: 2018 Lenten Program Plan

The Commission to End Racism for the Diocese of Oregon invites your participation in the 2018 Lenten program:

 

In preparation for this year’s Diocesan Convention theme, and as a proactive and faithful response to continuing the Gospel work of justice and reconciliation using the framework of Becoming Beloved Community, the Commission to End Racism of the Diocese of Oregon is offering this Lenten program as a way to introduce the theology and practice of Becoming Beloved Community to the leadership, congregations and institutions of the Diocese of Oregon.

Objectives:

  1. To INTRODUCE Becoming Beloved Community as a common framework around which the congregations, leadership and associated institutions of the Diocese of Oregon can continue intentional and faithful work in the Gospel imperatives of justice and inclusion.
  2. To MODEL events, activities and practices congruent with Becoming Beloved Community by hosting events at the diocesan level and inviting congregations and diocesan groups to host events within their specific locations and ministry areas.
  3. To PRACTICE dialogue and ministry tools that will support and facilitate justice and inclusion work to be used in common throughout the diocese as previously presented in Diverse Church I and as suggested by Becoming Beloved Community.
  4. To INCREASE COMPLIANCE with General Convention resolutions requiring anti-racism training by inviting leaders within our diocese to sign up for diocesan Diverse Church I training offered later in the year.

Background:

This program is intended to help us make dynamic connections between commitments we have made as a church towards the Gospel imperative of inclusion, justice and reconciliation, and the framework developed and offered by our church leadership on how to envision this work.

The program itself is intended to be simple, do-able, and local. Each week during the first four weeks of Lent, one of the four emphases in Becoming Beloved Community will be lifted up. We will have a reflection shared via diocesan communications, a collect or prayer for the week, and an opportunity to participate and organize a specific action or event congruent with the focus of the week.

Please note that this offering begins by inviting participation and a commitment prior to Lent. Congregation choosing to participate should plan ahead the events they want to sponsor for each week. Individuals should research in advance the offerings that will be organized in their area, and plan in advance their activity or action for the week.

With this in mind, each week can be structured around three components:

  1. Prayer
  2. Reflection and learning
  3. Action and practice

BEFORE LENT

PRAYER:

Q:          What is the mission of the Church?
A:          The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.

 Q:          How does the Church pursue its mission?
A:          The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace, and love.

Q:          Through whom does the Church carry out its mission?
A:          The Church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its embers.

– An Outline of the Faith (Book of Common Prayer, p. 855)

REFLECTION AND LEARNING:

  1. Read the overview for Becoming Beloved Community
  2. Read the detailed description of Becoming Beloved Community, focusing on the introduction (pages 1-7)

ACTION:

For individuals:

  1. Click here to make a commitment to following this Lenten program by adding your name to the list of individuals and groups who will be making this Lenten journey together.
  2. Read ahead to the activities suggested for weeks 2-4, and encourage your community to organize a local event.

For congregations and groups:

  1. Click here to make a commitment to following this Lenten program by adding your name to the list of individuals and groups who will be making this Lenten journey together.
  2. Read ahead to the activities suggested for weeks 2-4. Commit to holding one or more events.
  3. For week 2, the activity will be a group reading of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail in the context of a Eucharist. Commit to holding a Eucharist and reading within your community or congregation.
  4. Click here to publicize this Eucharist with the rest of the diocese.

 WEEK 1 : Telling the Truth

(Ash Wednesday through Feb. 24))

PRAYER:

Q:          Will you persevere in resisting evil, and whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
A:          We will, with God’s help.

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

– Prayer for the Human Family (Book of Common Prayer, p. 815)

REFLECTION AND LEARNING:

  1. Read the detailed description of Becoming Beloved Community, focusing on Telling the Truth (pages 9-12)
  2. Read the Pastoral Letter written by the House of Bishops in 1994 on confronting the sin of racism.

ACTION:

For individuals:

  1. Anti-racism training is a requirement for all leaders in the Episcopal Church. In the Diocese of Oregon, the expectation is that this training (Diverse Church I) be taken at least once every ten years.
  2. If you haven’t taken the training recently, make the commitment now to take one of the workshops that will be offered throughout the rest of the year. (Click here for dates and registration.)

For congregations and groups:

  • Commit to surveying your leadership structure and see who might need to take this training – Ex: Vestry and BAC members, clergy and staff, church leaders and teachers, boards, convention delegates, and those in your congregation or group who serve at the diocesan level. Encourage those who need to take the training to commit and sign up for workshops that will be offered throughout the rest of the year. (Click here for dates and registration.)

WEEK 2 : Proclaiming the Dream

(Feb. 25 – March 3)

PRAYER/REFLECTION:

The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends. … It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.

– The Rev. Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.

REFLECTION AND LEARNING:

  1. Read the detailed description of Becoming Beloved Community, focusing on Proclaiming the Dream (pages 13 – 15)
  2. Read Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

ACTION:

For individuals:

  • Attend and participate in a Eucharist (click here for a list of events scheduled throughout the diocese) at which a portion of the Letter will be read as the Ministry of the Word.

For congregations and groups:

  • Hold a Eucharist at which a portion of the Letter will be read as the Ministry of the Word. Use dialogue tools as presented in Diverse Church I to encourage reflection and dialogue among participants (Respectful Communication Guidelines, Mutual Invitation, Photolanguage, etc..) OR devise a dialogue and reflection format that meets the needs of your congregation or community.

All are also invited to attend the dialogue event and Eucharist that will be held at the Diocesan Close at which Bishop Hanley will be presiding.

WEEK 3: Practicing the Way of Love

(March 4 – March 10)

PRAYER:

Almighty God, You bring to light things hidden in darkness and know the shadows of our hearts. Cleanse and renew us by Your Spirit, that we may walk in the light and sanctify Your name through Jesus the Messiah, the Light of the world. Amen.
– The Kenyan Book of Common Prayer

REFLECTION AND LEARNING:

  1. Read the detailed description of Becoming Beloved Community, focusing on Practicing the Way of Love (pages 16-20)

ACTION:

The focus of our activities this week is to look at the way our communities are organized in their internal leadership and action, and start examining our common work through the lens of Becoming Beloved Community.

For individuals:

  • Make a thoughtful self-examination on your personal experiences and social location around the questions of inclusion/exclusion, privilege/oppression. Prayerfully consider how your personal experiences and background influence your perspective and voice as a member and leader within your communities.

For congregations and groups:
Of necessity, the action for this week needs to be discerned by each individual and group participating. Here are some possibilities:

  1. At your next meeting, set time aside to reflect on how one of your agenda items might be approached or engaged with differently if special attention is being given to the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion.
  2. Invite an outside speaker or diocesan consultant to work with your group on a topic related to justice and inclusion issues.
  3. Research and implement an exercise that will allow your group to become your conscious of its own dynamics or inclusion/privilege, or exclusion/oppression.

WEEK 4: Repairing the Breach

(March 11- March 17)

PRAYER:
Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

– The Book of Common Prayer

REFLECTION AND LEARNING:

  1. Read the detailed description of Becoming Beloved Community, focusing on Repairing the Breach (pages 21 – 23)

ACTION:
After focusing on our internal dynamics, it may be time to extent our work into the world. One way to do this is to partner with other individuals, agencies, ministries and groups that share our commitment to his work.

For individuals and groups:

Identity other groups doing this work, and consider one of the following:

  1. Attend a presentation or event organized by another group.
  2. Invite a speaker from another group to make a presentation sharing their work.
  3. Contribute and participate in a particular initiative or project sponsored by another group.
  4. Consider expanding the base of community work with specific steps towards developing and focusing ecumenical, interfaith and community partnerships.

Click here for a (growing) list of groups focusing on justice and inclusion work in the state of Oregon. (coming soon)