We have completed our Sacred Ground 2020 program! Four dialogue circles of over 30 participants met over Zoom and have “graduated.” We are currently in the process of assessing if there’s interest in starting one or more new Sacred Ground circles for 2021.
All those interested in joining an upcoming Sacred Ground dialogue circle should contact Barbara Scoville at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-945-7938. Friends/relatives of St. Clare’s parishioners and members of the public are welcome. Also, if you are from another church and would like to partner with us, please contact us.
What is Sacred Ground?
- Sacred Ground, a film-based dialogue series on race and faith, is part of Becoming Beloved Community, the Episcopal Church’s long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation, and justice in our personal lives, our ministries, and our society.
- The Sacred Ground series:
- is built around powerful documentary films and readings.
- focuses on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian American histories as they intersect with European American histories.
- invites the exploration of how people of color suffer from racism, and how white people consciously and unconsciously perpetuate racist thinking and systems, creating a deeply unequal and mutually broken society for all.
- is framed as a spiritual journey and grounded in the Christian faith.
- The series is not liberal or conservative and is not meant to “convert” participants to one point of view or another. It is focused on shared learning and humility. What can I learn from those with different points of views? As the Rev. Stephen Phelps says, “The dove for one, needs its right wing and left wing to fly.”
Understand that this is sacred ground and it hurts to walk here. But at the same time, I “need” to walk here, need the strength, the sense of purpose, the knowledge of self, that walking here imparts…. What do I want from you? I want you to be my sister and to walk here with me. I know it’s a hard walk. I know that it causes you pain. But this much I also know: if we ever learn to tread this ground together, there’s no place we can’t go.– Leonard Pitts, Jr.
Why Did St. Clare’s Decide to Offer Sacred Ground as Part of the Response to Racial Injustice?
There are a number of reasons to offer Sacred Ground, such as the strength of the program and the materials offered, as well as the opportunity to learn from the films, the readings, and one another. Another important factor is that Sacred Ground is based on the premise that the most effective actions – actions that have a lasting impact – are based on a foundation of relationships and learning: Relate – Learn – Act. This is done by
- Engaging in conversations/sharing experiences with others to build relationships.
- Learning about the issues – often through deep listening to those with whom you are in relationship.
- Acting – with relationships to rely on and a true understanding of the issue to guide you.
While there are actions that many of us can and are taking right now to tackle the issue of racial injustice, it is also important to acquire the tools and spiritual grounding that help create successful long-term and effective engagement. We believe that Sacred Ground will help us to do that.
How Is Sacred Ground Structured? How Much Does it Cost?
- Sacred Ground is made up of 10 sessions, with a session offered every two weeks.
- Participants are grouped into a dialogue circle with approximately 6 to 12 members.
- Participants will view the films ahead of time and then gather in their dialogue circle to discuss the films and the readings. The dialogue circles are led by trained facilitators to help guide the discussion. (Dialogue circles will be on Zoom until it is appropriate to hold in-person meetings.)
- Registration is free and most of the materials are free to access. There are two books to purchase. Arrangements can be made for financial assistance if needed.
Who Can Participate?
- The program is open to St. Clarians, 18 years and older, and anyone you may wish to invite. We are hoping to have a group of participants who are diverse in many ways, including generational diversity.
- Note: The Study Guide is written from the point of view of a white woman to be used by other white people. (This is because people of color are often called upon to do the heavy lifting around unpacking “race”, while whites take a more passive role, if any role at all.) However, the curriculum is flexible and will work if the Spirit leads to the formation of interracial dialogue circles. People of color can take a look at the Study Guide and see if it speaks to them, even with a tilt toward a white audience.
- Note: The curriculum is grounded in Christian theology. While we look forward to working with our TBE friends on racial justice issues, we will look for a future opportunity to do so.
- Friends/relatives of St. Clare’s parishioners and members of the public are welcome. Also, if you are from another church and would like to partner with us, please contact us.
- Explore the Sacred Ground website
- Read the text of Deacon Intern Kelly Scheu’s The Seed of Anti-Racism Sermon (July 12, 2020)
- See the Episcopal News Service article on Sacred Ground (July 28, 2020)
- Check out the anti-racism resources curated by the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan
- More: Anti-racism resources for white people