During the summer of 2020, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and amidst the protests against racial inequality that sprang up across the nation, a number of St. Clarians asked what was being done to help ensure that issues of racial justice were also a focus at St. Clare’s. In response, St. Clare’s Equity Education and Action Committee (EEAC) was established, with both the Senior Warden and Interim Rector among the founding members. 

One of the first acts of the EEAC was to bring Sacred Ground, a powerful program on race and faith created by The Episcopal Church, to St. Clare’s. There were close to 40 participants in the first offering of Sacred Ground, all but one of whom was a St. Clarian. Five of the eight facilitators for the four Sacred Ground Dialogue Circles were members of the EEAC. 

A graduation celebration for the first cohort of Sacred Ground participants took place in the Spring of 2021. One of the Sacred Ground Circles is continuing as a book study group, focused on books dealing with issues related to racial justice. The group is open to all (learn more here). A fifth Sacred Ground Dialogue Circle in now in progress, and is expected to conclude in early November. A sixth Dialogue Circle is currently planned for a January start.

Following the conclusion of the first round of Sacred Ground, the EEAC organized a four-session summer read of The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich, a novel about issues related to Native Americans and Native American culture, including attempts to terminate tribal rights to land. We are planning events with a specific focus, such as racial justice issues most relevant to African Americans, Native Americans, or to Asian Americans, and events with a broader scope, such as the criminal legal system. The format of the events will differ in an effort to appeal to a variety of interests, and will likely include the showing of films with post-film discussions, a series of podcasts, and presentations by someone well-versed in an aspect of racial justice. There are currently two events with assigned dates.

  • October 10, 2 to 5PM: The Underground Railroad Bus Tour, held for St. Clare’s by the African-American Cultural & History Museum of Washtenaw
  • November 29, 7:30 PM in the Sanctuary: A talk with Scott Ellsworth, author of The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice, which is about the 1921 Tulsa Massacre. Ellsworth is a lecturer at the University of Michigan and a native of Tulsa. This event is co-sponsored with Temple Beth Emeth. 

Additional events will be announced as dates are assigned.  

The work of the EEAC will be most effective if it reflects as many St. Clarian voices as possible. To share in the work of the EEAC by contributing ideas or by joining the EEAC, please contact an EEAC member. A list of members is provided at the end of this communication. And you can always share your thoughts with an EEAC member during coffee hour. We would love to hear from you!

The work of the EEAC is both important and appropriate for our St. Clare’s community. In our baptismal covenant, we vow to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” And St. Clare’s Mission Statement expresses clearly our community’s desire to strive to “Worship with Joy, Growth in Faith, and Act for Justice.” May it be so. 

The Equity Education and Action Committee (EEAC)

Ann Putallaz, Chair

Wendy Hatem

Linda Klimach

David Laurance

Christine Modey

The Rev. Maryjane Peck (until October 3)

Carolyn Sampselle

Barbara Scoville

Jennifer Wolf