Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Together with others in Diocesan leadership, I have considered carefully how best to address issues concerning race relations which confront our nation, communities and church. We have been discussing how best to address these issues and to pray for and foster loving relationships with one another. The ultimate goal is that we may be reconciled as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ our Lord. Remembering that our Church includes individuals of all races and points of view, how do we, with respect and love for all, best continue the conversation and the prayer?

At a recent meeting of the Diocesan Council, we considered a motion to establish a  Diocesan Commission for Antiracism and Reconciliation.  The motion, copied below, was seconded and unanimously passed. I encouraged and supported the passing of this resolution.

A motion to establish a Diocesan Commission to actively identify and seek the eradication of the historical marginalization, injustice, and inequality experienced in the daily lives of African Americans, facilitated through diocesan supported initiatives aimed at meaningful engagement, support, and commitment to enhancing quality of life of this affected people: spiritually, socially, and economically.

I thank Council members Father Hugh Chapmen and Byron Greene, both of St. Michael and All Angels Church in Tallahassee, for their work in bringing this motion before Council and I look forward to working closely with them and others to issue invitations to a representative cross-section of the diocese to work as a steering committee. This committee will to help set the tone for the types of studies, programs and events the Commission will provide to congregations across the Diocese.

I have seen work similar to this in action. As Vicar at Trinity Wall Street, I participated in the leadership of a group similar to this one, an Antiracism Task Force that brought together congregants in study, prayer and regular congregational programs to address issues of racism and our response to it. I look forward to working with our Antiracism group as well, and I commit to you that I will continue to lift up and encourage you to participate in its work.
The Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard